Canada invites 668 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence

The Government of Canada has released the details of this week’s Express Entry draw, inviting 668 candidates to apply for permanent residence.

Invitations were received on March 18, however official details of the draw were released today, March 20. This draw brings the total number of invitations to apply (ITAs) issued so far this year through Canada’s Express Entry system to 19,368.

The minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score requirement was 720.

The score requirement may seem high compared to the last Express Entry draw that required a score of 471, however, this draw only included candidates that had provincial nominations aligned with Express Entry.

Despite COVID-19 measures slowing down Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) services, Canada is still striving to meet its immigration targets set for 2020. Many of those are allotted to obtain permanent residence through Canada’s Express Entry system.

Express Entry manages the pool of candidates for Canada’s three Federal High Skilled economic immigration programs — the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class.

Eligible candidates are ranked in the Express Entry pool based on a score awarded under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which provides points for factors such as age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French.

A set number of the highest-ranked candidates are issued an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence through regular draws from the Express Entry pool, which typically take place every two weeks.

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) applied a tie break of March 19, 2020, at 02:04:06 UTC. This means that all candidates with CRS scores above 720, as well as those with scores of 720 who entered their profile in the Express Entry pool before this date and time, received an ITA.

Whereas Canada welcomed 320,000 newcomers in 2018, and 341,000 immigrants in 2019, it is again targeting the admission of 341,000 immigrants this year. New immigration targets were unveiled last week in the federal government’s 2020-2022 Immigration Levels Plan.

The vast majority of Canada’s newcomers are set to arrive under the economic class, with 58 per cent set to arrive through Express Entry programs, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), Quebec’s programs, and other federal streams such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP).

Express Entry candidates with scores below today’s cut-off who want to improve their score may have a number of options for doing so, from improving their language scores to obtaining a provincial nomination for Canadian permanent residence.

Express Entry candidates with a provincial nomination receive an additional 600 CRS points and are effectively guaranteed an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

The last few weeks have seen Express Entry-aligned provincial nominee programs in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island issue more than 5,000 invitations to Express Entry candidates.

Saskatchewan has now invited more than 1,750 Express Entry candidates through the Express Entry sub-category of its immigrant nominee program since the beginning of the year.

In January, Ontario issued invitations to 954 Express Entry candidates with work experience in six tech occupations.

Alberta selected Express Entry candidates with CRS scores as low as 300 in a selection round held February 20 through the Alberta Express Entry Stream. Earlier selection rounds held through this stream this year have also seen Express Entry candidates with scores as low as 300 invited to apply for a provincial nomination from Alberta.

The following are hypothetical examples of candidates who would have obtained an ITA in the March 18 draw:

Arun and Lisa are married and are each 35 years old. They each hold bachelor’s degrees, have been working as software developers for five years and each has demonstrated an intermediate English language proficiency. They submitted an Express Entry profile with Lisa as the principal applicant and initially had a CRS score of 304. The Canadian province of Alberta invited them to apply for nomination, and their score increased to 904. They received an ITA in the March 18 Express Entry draw.

Jo has been working in Canada as a network technician for a year and a half. He is 38 years old and wrote the CELPIP and scored a 5 in each category. Jo did not have his foreign education assessed and none of his prior foreign skilled work experience took place in the past 10 years. He entered the pool with a CRS score of 125 and obtained a provincial nomination on March 10. His CRS score increased to 725 and he was invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence in the March 20 Express Entry draw.

The first step to being considered for a provincial nomination through one of these streams is to enter a profile in the Express Entry pool

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