Canada Express Entry applications fall slightly

Canada’s Express Entry immigration system received 85,300 invitations to apply for Canadian permanent residence last year, new figures show.

This was the second-highest invitation total since the Express Entry system was introduced in 2015, falling just short of the record set in 2018.

Canada’s federal immigration ministry, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), held a total of 26 draws from the Express Entry pool over the course of 2019.A defining development was IRCC’s deviation from the pattern it established the year before that mostly saw draw sizes incrementally increased every two to three months over the course of 2018.

Draw size followed a much less predictable pattern in 2019, leaving observers guessing whether it would increase or decrease with every new invitation round.

The last three months of 2019 were a case in point as draw sizes rose briefly to 3,900 ITAs in October then dropped to 3,600 in November and finished the year with two December invitation rounds of 3,200 ITAs each.

ITAs are issued to Express Entry candidates based on their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, which is determined by their age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French, among other factors.

Over the 26 all-program draws held in 2019, the cut-off score ranged from a low of 438 on 30th January to a high of 475 on 30th October – both a far cry from 2017’s record low of 413.

The generally higher minimum-required score that characterized Express Entry draws in 2019 may be explained by a combination of the smaller draw sizes throughout the year and the fact IRCC let more than the usual two weeks elapse between draws on four occasions.

Another factor that could help explain the higher minimum required CRS scores in 2019 is the growing number of Express Entry candidates who are receiving a provincial nomination and the 600 additional CRS points that come with one. Canada is setting higher admissions targets for its PNP and the various provinces and territories that participate in the program are taking advantage of this to issue thousands of nominations to Express Entry candidates.

Article published 7th January 2019