This is no April Fools joke— Canada invited 5,000 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence on April 1.
Invited candidates needed to be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and have a score of at least 432 in order to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), 17 points less than the previous CEC-only draw.
Candidates who had the minimum score of 432 were only invited if they submitted their Express Entry profile before February 16, 2021 at 09:51:22 UTC, as per the tie-break rule. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) publishes the cut-off time for the tie-break rule as an administrative requirement, regardless of whether there was an actual tie.
“Today marked the third-lowest CRS cut-off for a CEC draw during the pandemic,” said David Cohen, Senior Attorney of Campbell Cohen. “Only the historic February 13, 2021 and June 25, 2020 CEC draws have had lower CRS requirements over the past year.”
IRCC prioritizing in-Canada Express Entry candidates
Canada’s border is still closed to non-essential international travel, but at the same time, the government still needs to welcome high numbers of new permanent residents. This is because the current government set an ambitious target to welcome 401,000 new immigrants in 2021, mostly through Express Entry-managed programs.
To meet these targets amid travel restrictions, IRCC has been holding program-specific draws that target candidates who are likely already in the country. CEC candidates need at least one year of full-time work experience in a skilled occupation, so it is likely they are already in Canada when they submit their Express Entry profiles. IRCC previously reported that about 90 per cent of CEC candidates are in Canada.
When the border first closed in March 2020, Canada alternated between holding PNP-specific draws and rounds of invitation that only invited candidates who might be eligible for the CEC. IRCC went with this pattern until the later part of the year when it started holding all-program draws again, which do not single out candidates of any particular program.
Since the new year, IRCC has been back to holding PNP- and CEC-specific draws. On February 13, the department invited every-single candidate who was eligible for the CEC to apply for permanent residence.
The previous Express Entry draw on March 31 targeted Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates. PNP-only candidates have demonstrated to the province that nominated them that they have the necessary skills to support the regional labour market. These candidates have higher CRS scores because receiving a PNP automatically grants Express Entry candidates an additional 600 points.
Earlier this year, IRCC invited every single CEC-eligible candidate from the Express Entry pool on February 13, a total of 27,332 immigration candidates. Because of this record-smashing draw, the number of ITAs issued in 2021 is already 49,124, nearly half of its target of new Express Entry candidates to admit in 2021. At this time last year, IRCC had issued 22,600.
What is Express Entry?
Express Entry is the Canadian government’s application management system for three federal immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.
If you want to immigrate to Canada through an Express Entry-managed program, the first step is to check to see if you are eligible. If so, you will get a score based on your work experience, education, age, and language ability in English or French, among other factors.
IRCC then invites the highest-scoring candidates through regular rounds of invitation. Invited candidates receive an ITA, which they can use to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
Who was invited?
The following is a hypothetical example of someone who may have been invited in the new Express Entry draw:
Milo is 36, has a bachelor’s degree, and has been working in Canada as a database analyst for just over one year. Prior to coming to Canada, he worked for six years in his field. Milo has an advanced English language proficiency. His CRS score of 456 would have been high enough to obtain an ITA in today’s Express Entry draw.
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