Last Updated on February 13, 2021
Canada has delivered a statement of intent of its commitment to immigration by issuing 27,332 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to candidates with Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores as low as 75 in a historic Express Entry draw.
The February 13 Canadian Experience Class draw – the first to take place on a Saturday since the system was launched in 2015 – obliterated the records for the most ITAs and the lowest minimum CRS score.
It shows that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is serious about ramping up the numbers of new permanent residents in 2021 to aid the economic recovery from COVID-19.
Canada plans to welcome more than 400,000 newcomers per year over the next three years, with many sceptical about how they will achieve this in 2021 due to the lingering pandemic.
But in issuing more than 27,000 invites in a single draw – the previous record was 5,000 – IRCC has shown it is prepared to be bold in pursuit of the target numbers.
The minimum CRS score of 75 is the first time it has ever dropped under 100. The previous low for a CEC draw was 431 in June 2020, while May 31, 2017 saw a minimum CRS of 413 for an all program draw and May 26 the same year saw a score of 199 for a Skilled Trades draw.
The historically low CRS means candidates who would never previously have had a chance of qualifying have now received ITAs.
The latest draw followed a Provincial Nominee Program draw on February 10 that saw 654 ITAs issued and a minimum CRS score of 720.
IRCC has now issued 37,986 ITAs through six draws to start 2021.
Canada has this year conducted three PNP draws, issuing 1,278 ITAs, and three CEC draws, issuing 36,708 ITAs.
When the coronavirus crisis began in Canada in March 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) switched to draws focused on PNP and CEC candidates, given they were more likely to already be in the country.
However, between August and December 2020, IRCC resumed regular all-program draws.
Canada set a new record for total ITAs in 2020 at 107,350, despite the year being marred by coronavirus. The previous record for ITAs in a calendar year was the 89,800 issued in 2018.
The latest draw saw the tie-breaking rule implemented on September 12, 2020 at 11.31am EST. If more than one candidate had the minimum CRS score, only those who submitted their Express Entry profiles before this date and time received invitations.
What is Express Entry?
Express Entry is an immigration system implemented by Canadian immigration authorities (IRCC) on January 1, 2015 which manages skilled worker applications under Federal Economic programs. This includes the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program the Canada Experience Class and parts of the Provincial Nomination Programs.
Stakeholders expect to see continued high numbers of invitations issued as Canada builds towards its target of more than 400,000 new permanent residents in 2021, with a majority of draws featuring CRS scores around 470.
With the coronavirus crisis striking in March, Canada switch to program-specific draws aimed at Canadian Experience Class and Provincial Nominee Program candidates. This had the affect of significantly increasing the number of individual draws beyond previous years.
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What Can Employers Do to Recruit Foreign Workers?
Employers are encouraged to consider securing an LMIA or nomination under provincial nomination programs (PNPs) to ensure long term retention of employees.
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What Should Candidates Do Next?
It is expected that the majority of applicants to be issued ITAs in 2021 will require a CRS score around 470 points, enabling a significant number of applicants to receive permanent admission to Canada without a job offer or nomination under a provincial immigration program. However, securing an approved offer of employment is highly recommended. Watch our Facebook livestream video on how to find jobs in Canada from overseas.
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Colin R. Singer is immigration counsel for www.immigration.ca and Managing Partner of Global Recruiters of Montreal, GRNMontreal.com, as well as skilledworker.com. He is one of Canada’s foremost senior corporate immigration attorneys. Colin is internationally recognized as an experienced and recommended authority on Canadian immigration and foreign recruitment. In addition to being a licensed human resources professional, he is a licensed Canadian lawyer in good standing with the Quebec Law Society for more than 25 years and is authorized by the Canadian government in all immigration matters.