Express Entry: Canada invites 27,332 immigration candidates in historic Saturday draw

“Extending invitations to apply for permanent residency to over 27,000 economic immigrants is the largest single draw ever in the history of our Express Entry system.” Canada’s Immigration Minister explained to CIC News.

In its new Express Entry draw, Canada welcomed 27,332 applicants to apply for permanent residence; you read that correct.

On February 13, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) welcomed Canadian Experience Class (CEC) applicants. This unparalleled invitation round for express entry only allowed candidates to have a Detailed Ranking System (CRS) score of at least 75, the lowest CRS requirement ever.

Extending invitations to apply for permanent residency to over 27,000 economic immigrants is the biggest single draw ever in the history of our Express Entry system,” Canada’s Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino explained to CIC News. “Here, these aspiring Canadians are already established, possess valuable abilities and give back to their communities. In some of the most essential parts of our economy, they are hard at work and are ready to build their future in Canada.

“The draw today was almost six times greater than the previous Express Entry record of 5,000 ITAs,” said Campbell Cohen’s Senior Partner, Attorney David Cohen.

“This goes to show that Canada is committed to achieving its target this year of welcoming over 400,000 immigrants.”

In each of the four Express Entry drawings that took place between November 18 and December 23 last year, a total of 5,000 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) were issued.In the May 16, 2017 draw, which only invited Federal Skilled Trades Program candidates, the lowest CRS cut-off requirement ever was 199 points prior to today. The launch of Express Entry started on january 2015.

Canada also held an Express Entry draw on Wednesday, inviting 654 candidates from the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) to apply for permanent residence, making a total of 27,986 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) issued this week.

The tie-break rule was enforced by IRCC, meaning that candidates who had the minimum score of 75 were only included if they submitted their Express Entry profile at 15:31 UTC before September 12, 2020.

Today’s drawing shows IRCC’s commitment to achieving its goal of 401,000 new immigrants in 2021. Of those, as per its 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan, IRCC plans to accept 108,500 immigrants through Express Entry-managed programs. The target should grow to 110,500 next year, and then to 113,750 in 2023. Canada has allocated the largest share of new immigrant allocations for the next three years to Federal High Skilled services, which are operated by the Express Entry system. This means that, for the near future, the Express Entry scheme will continue to be Canada’s primary source of new immigrants.

Canada’s immigration minister, Marco Mendicino, recently said that during the pandemic, the IRCC would make efforts to fulfill ambitious immigration targets by moving more temporary immigrants to permanent residents.

The extraordinary draw today seems to suggest that at the beginning of this year the IRCC intends to issue as many invitations as possible so that the permanent residence landings of qualified Express Entry candidates can be completed later in 2021. This would give IRCC a greater opportunity to achieve its target for immigration levels in the midst of ongoing coronavirus disruptions worldwide. At the same time, IRCC and Mendicino continue to stress that they will also look at global talent to support the post-pandemic recovery of the country, including those currently outside Canada.

What is Canada’s Express Entry system?

For the three Federal High Skilled category systems, Express Entry is not an immigration program itself, but an application management system: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canada Experience Class.

Skilled employers must make sure they are eligible for one of these services in order to get into the Express Entry group of candidates. If so, they will get a CRS score based on their age, schooling, work experience, English or French language proficiency, as well as other factors. For example, candidates who receive a provincial nomination through a PNP get an additional 600 CRS points, which essentially ensures that in an Express Entry draw they will receive an ITA.

These drawings are kept by IRCC approximately every two weeks, inviting applicants for express entry to apply for Canadian permanent residence. In 2021, which includes applicants from the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canada has not yet held an all-program draw. Instead, in separate program-specific draws, CEC and PNP candidates were invited.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Canada prioritizes these candidates because they are, in general, more likely to be in the country already. PNP candidates have been chosen to meet the demands of their local labor markets in their respective provinces or territories, and CEC candidates are also already identified in Canada.

For around three months after Canada first went into lockdown in March 2020, IRCC kept these program-specific Express Entry draws. By September, before the end of the year, the department was back to having all-program draws every two weeks. The IRCC is very likely to conduct all-program draws again during the pandemic in 2021, as they have done before. “IRCC will continue to accept and process Express Entry applications and looks forward to welcoming skilled workers from abroad when travel resumes,” it noted today in its press release.

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