Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has invited 2,801 more candidates to apply for Canadian permanent residence, in an Express Entry draw that took place on October 4. Candidates in the pool with 438 or more Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points were issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) on this occasion.
Invited candidates have 90 days to submit a complete application, including supporting documentation. IRCC aims to complete the processing of these applications within six months, a time frame that has successfully been met in the majority of cases.
In order to enter the Express Entry pool and be assigned a CRS score, potential immigrants to Canada need to be eligible under one of Canada’s federal economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), or the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC).
The October 4 draw, the 23rd to take place this year, comes as we enter the final quarter of 2017. So far this year, a total of 72,221 ITAs have been issued, far surpassing the total number issued over the first two years of Express Entry, which was first introduced in January, 2017. This number also more than doubles the 25,982 ITAs issued over the first 23 draws of 2016.
Though the CRS cut-off threshold went up slightly on this occasion, relative to the previous draw, which took place on September 20, it may be noted that the current threshold is still comfortably lower than the lowest threshold over the whole of 2016, when the threshold never dipped below 450. The lowest ever threshold was on May 31 of this year, when candidates with 413 or more CRS points were invited to apply.
Soon after that draw IRCC introduced changes to the system whereby candidates with a sibling in Canada were able to receive 15 additional points. Candidates with French ability also benefited from those changes, with 15 or 30 additional points available. Following those changes, the cut-off threshold went up to 449 on June 28.
IRCC is due to announce its immigration levels plan for the coming year within the next few weeks, in which the department is expected to reveal the target number of immigrants to arrive under the various immigration programs, including the programs managed under Express Entry. The Minister of Immigration, Ahmed Hussen, earlier this year stated that the current overall target of 300,000 new immigrants annually will form the ‘baseline’ target over the coming years. Just how many of these newcomers will arrive through Express Entry remains to be seen. A higher target for Express Entry programs would result in either larger and/or more frequent draws, thereby contributing to a possible decrease in CRS thresholds over time.