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Latest Express Entry draw issues 3,500 invitations to apply for permanent residence

A total of 3,500 Express Entry candidates received invitations to apply on February 5.

Candidates in the federal Express Entry pool needed a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of at least 472 in order to qualify.

Canada invites 3,400 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence

Canada has issued 3,400 invitations to apply for permanent residence to Express Entry candidates.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held this year’s second selection round on January 22.

Invitations were issued to Express Entry candidates with a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of at least 471.

Minimum CRS score decreases in latest Express Entry draw

The Government of Canada issued 3,200 invitations to apply for Canadian permanent residence to Express Entry candidates in a draw held December 19. 

The minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score in this latest invitation round was 469, a decrease of three points over the previous draw held December 11.

The Express Entry system manages the pool of candidates for three of Canada’s main skilled labour immigration categories — the Federal Skilled Worker ClassFederal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class.

Candidates are ranked in the pool based on a score awarded under the CRS that considers factors such as age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French.

A job offer is not required in order to be eligible for an Express Entry invitation to apply (ITA), though additional CRS points are awarded if a candidate has one.

A set number of the highest-ranked candidates are invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence through regular draws from the pool. These invitation rounds typically take place every two weeks and the vast majority involve candidates from all three Express Entry-managed categories.

The minimum CRS score is determined by factors including the number of candidates in the Express Entry pool, the time between draws and the number of ITAs issued.

Shorter interval between draws

The lower cut-off score in today’s draw may be attributed to the fact only eight days elapsed between invitation rounds.

When draws are held at shorter intervals, fewer new candidates with higher scores have time to enter the pool and that can have the effect of lowering the minimum required score.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) applied a tie-break time and date of November 14, 2019, at 08:41:33 UTC in this draw. This means that all candidates with a score of 469 who submitted their profile before this date and time received an ITA.

IRCC has now issued 85,300 ITAs in 2019. This is 4,500 ITAs short of the 89,800 that were issued in 2018, which stands as the most ITAs issued in a single year through the Express Entry system.

Under Canada’s multi-year immigration levels plan, the coming year will see the target for new permanent resident admissions through the three Express Entry-managed immigration programs rise to 85,800, up from 81,400 this year.

The admissions target for Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program, or PNP, is also set to increase from 61,000 to 67,800 in 2020, a portion of which is managed by the Express Entry system.

Nine Canadian provinces and two territories have what are known as “enhanced” PNP streams that are linked to the Express Entry system.

These streams allow them to select Express Entry candidates and invite them to apply for a provincial nomination for Canadian permanent residence and many have lower or even no CRS score requirements.

Express Entry candidates who obtain a provincial nomination receive an additional 600 points toward their CRS score and are effectively guaranteed an ITA.

“The lower minimum score in today’s draw is what usually happens when IRCC holds draws in quick succession,” said David Cohen, senior partner with the Campbell Cohen Canadian immigration law firm.

“With Canada’s larger targets for 2020 and 2021, there’s always the chance of larger draws and possibly even quicker draws — and that would be great news for Express Entry candidates with lower CRS score.”

Who’s invited?

The following are hypothetical examples of candidates who would have obtained an ITA in today’s draw:

Bartek and Yakira are 32 and 33-years-old, respectively. They both hold a master’s degree and they both took the General Training IELTS test and have Advanced English proficiency in all four categories. Bartek has been working for four years as a data scientist outside of Canada. Bartek entered the Entry pool as the principal applicant, and his CRS score of 469 would have been sufficient to obtain an ITA in today’s draw.

Denis is 29 and holds a master’s degree. He has been working for four years as a business analyst outside of Canada. He took the CELPIP and has Initial Advanced English proficiency in all four categories. While Denis has never worked or studied in Canada, his CRS of 469 would have been sufficient to obtain an ITA during the December 19 draw.

John is 30 and holds a bachelor’s degree. He has been working for three years as an administrative coordinator outside of Canada. He took the TEF Canada exam and obtained 275 in Reading, 400 in writing and speaking as well as 330 in Listening. He also took a General Training IELTS exam and obtained 3.5 in Reading and 5.0 in Listening, Writing, and Speaking. John also has a sibling who is a citizen living in Ottawa. His CRS score of 469 would have been sufficient to obtain an ITA in today’s draw.

Quebec needs 80,000 immigrants per year, not 50,000

To sustain a strong economy, Quebec needs almost twice as many immigrants as it is currently targeting. 

In recent years, Canada’s second-largest province has welcomed around 50,000 immigrants annually, ranking second behind Ontario.

On a per capita basis, however, Quebec’s newcomer intake ranked sixth among Canada’s provinces and territories.

The province’s decision last year to reduce its newcomer intake to a maximum of 41,800 in 2019 under the auspices of seeking to improve newcomer integration means that Quebec has fallen even further behind.

The timing of this policy is inopportune.

Quebec is aging faster than the national average

As a recent Conference Board of Canada study shows, Quebec is aging faster than the national average and its birth rate is low.

These demographic realities may hurt the quality of life of Quebecers as they will constrain economic growth and the tax revenues needed for funding the social services Quebecers enjoy such as health care, education and subsidized daycare.

The study forecasts that Quebec will have more deaths than births by 2028. This is not expected to happen at the national level until 2034, which means that Quebec must identify how to grow its population with a greater sense of urgency than most other provinces and territories.

Immigration is the most realistic solution to fuel population growth. Attempts to promote higher birth rates in western countries have not demonstrated much success and Quebec is evidence of this. Despite its universal daycare program, Quebec’s birth rate remains as low as the national average.

Consequently, the Conference Board of Canada study projects that 100 per cent of Quebec’s population growth will come through immigration by 2023 (compared with 2034 at the national level).

Lower levels may hurt Quebec’s attractiveness to business

Last week, the province announced that it will increase its 2020 immigration target to a maximum of 44,500 newcomers, and could restore immigration to the 50,000 threshold by 2022.

But these levels remain too low in light of the province’s demographic circumstances. If it sustained this level of immigration between now and 2040, its economy would only grow by about 1.4 per cent annually in real terms compared with the forecasted Canadian average of 1.9 per cent.

Quebec’s lower immigration targets will now slow population growth — and that could have negative economic consequences.

For instance, businesses could choose to invest in other provinces with stronger population growth since those jurisdictions will have more available workers to produce and consume goods and services. Why invest in a province with weak population and economic growth when others such as neighbouring Ontario will enjoy higher rates of growth thanks in part to immigration?

Why Quebec needs 80,000 newcomers annually

Quebec’s economic growth would strengthen to an average of 1.7 per cent over the next two decades if it welcomed its proportionate share of newcomers, as it is eligible to do under the Canada-Quebec Accord. This federal-provincial agreement enables Quebec to admit a percentage share of immigrants in proportion to its demographic weight in Canada.

Given Quebec’s population size today, this means it can welcome at least 23 per cent of Canada’s immigrants each year, or around 75,000 newcomers.

If Canada continues to increase its immigration level, and if Quebec exercised its prerogative under the Accord, the province would be on track to welcome over 80,000 newcomers annually moving forward.

This number may sound high, but on a per capita basis, most provinces are already welcome this rate of immigration today.

Economic integration is improving

Although Quebec’s decision to reduce levels was based on the rationale of improving the social and economic integration of newcomers, Statistics Canada data shows that economic integration in the province has been improving in recent years.

Immigrant participation and employment rates, as well as their wages, have gone up, while their unemployment rates have gone down.

Quebec’s demographic challenges should help to further these positive developments. The scarcity of labour in the province will likely benefit both Canadian-born and immigrant workers.

Moreover, numerous reforms made by Quebec over the years such as the introduction of its online Arrima expression of interest system will likely result in continued positive economic integration outcomes.

Every province pursues policies that it genuinely believes is in the best interests of promoting higher living standards for its citizens. Given its rapidly aging population and low birth rate, Quebec would serve the best interests of its citizens by exercising its right under the Canada-Quebec Accord to welcome immigrants at intake levels that match those of its provincial peers.

Saskatchewan invites 858 Express Entry and Occupation In-Demand candidates

Saskatchewan ended October with another big draw for immigration candidates in its Express Entry and Occupation In-Demand sub-categories. 

The 858 invitations issued October 31 continued a six-week string of major draws through these popular Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) pathways, neither of which requires a job offer in Saskatchewan or Canadian work experience in order to be eligible.

The SINP’s Express Entry sub-category is linked to the federal Express Entry system, which manages the pool of candidates for Canada’s three Federal High Skilled immigration categories — the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class.

The Occupation In-Demand sub-category is open to immigration candidates who do not have an Express Entry profile.

11 draws since September 25 and more than 4,700 invitations

The SINP has now held six selection rounds through its Express Entry sub-category and five for Occupation In-Demand candidates since September 25.

A total of 4,704 invitations to apply for a provincial nomination have been issued to candidates in both sub-categories over the course of these 11 invitation rounds.

The draws follow the SINP’s adoption of a new approach to the occupations that are considered eligible under the two sub-categories. Both require at least one year of work experience in an in-demand occupation in Saskatchewan that is related to their field of study, among other criteria.

The SINP’s move away from a limited In-Demand Occupations List to an Excluded Occupations List in mid-September dramatically expanded the number of eligible occupations from 19 to more than 200.

The October 31 draw issued invitations to candidates in 58 occupations such as human resource professionals, Information systems analysts and consultants, Database analysts and data administrators, Drafting technologists and technicians, and Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors.

Expression of Interest

In order to be considered for a provincial nomination from Saskatchewan through either sub-category, candidates must register an Expression of Interest, or EOI, with Saskatchewan.

Eligible candidates for both sub-categories are awarded a score out of 100 based on the SINP’s International Skilled Worker Points Assessment Grid, which considers factors such as age, education, skilled work experience, proficiency in English or French and connections to Saskatchewan.

The highest-ranked candidates are issued an invitation to apply through regular draws conducted by the SINP.

All eligible Express Entry and Occupation In-Demand candidates with a score of 69 points or higher were invited to apply in the October 31 draws. The SINP also selected eligible candidates with 68 points who had 10 years of work experience and language proficiency in English or French of CLB 7 or higher.

Express Entry candidates who apply for and receive a provincial nomination from Saskatchewan are awarded an additional 600 points toward their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score and are effectively guaranteed an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.