LARGEST DRAW, LOWEST CRS
On Tuesday March 1, 2017, the largest Express Entry Draw has taken place, the number of invitations issued hit an all-time high, and the minimum CRS score hit an all-time low. 3,884 active Express Entry candidates with 434 or more CRS points were issued Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residence.
The decrease in the CRS requirement means that a wider range of candidates, as well as accompanying family members, are now in a position to submit an application for permanent residence to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
This is the largest ever draw for Express Entry, and the lowest Comprehensive Ranking System score required to receive an ITA. This continues the trend that we’ve been seeing for a while, but which began ramping up following changes to how CRS points are allocated in November, 2016.
In November, the number of CRS points granted to individuals with a job offer dropped from 600 to either 200 or 50, depending on the NOC code of the job. International students are also now able to claim up to 30 additional CRS points. A nomination from a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) aligned with Express Entry still grants an additional 600 CRS points.
These changes could help explain why the minimum CRS score has been dropping. However, IRCC decides on a number of ITAs to issue at each draw and starts with the highest-ranking candidate, working their way through the pool. In 2017, the Government of Canada announced a target of 73,700 newcomers under the Federal Economic category in 2017. In 2016, the target was 58,400. This 26% increase in the number of newcomers that will be welcomed through Federal Economic streams, such as those managed by Express Entry, could explain why the draws have been increasing in size so dramatically. And the larger the draw, the further down the list of candidates IRCC gets, which could also explain why the minimum CRS score has been dropping.
When the changes to Express Entry first came in, it was anticipated at the time that the CRS point requirement may come down, but only after it goes up temporarily. This was because the number of candidates in line to receive points for a job offer actually increased, though the number of points awarded for such a job offer went down substantially. Once these candidates left the pool — and they are now well on their way to settling in Canada as permanent residents — the prediction was that the CRS requirement would come down over time. Recent draws have shown that this has come to fruition. Indeed, there is reason to believe that the threshold may continue to decrease.