Canada recently held its third and fourth Express Entry draw of 2021 on January 20th and 21st. 374 Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates, each with a minimum score of 741 received an invitation from Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for the first draw. This score means that candidates needed only to reach 141 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points for their human capital characteristics. Candidates earned the remaining points by provincial nomination, which adds 600 points to a profile. The second draw invited an additional 4626 candidates, which was for the CEC (Canadian Experience Class) program.
What is Express Entry?
Express Entry is the main pathway through which skilled workers can gain permanent residence. The 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan projects that a potential 400,000 immigrants are welcomed each year to Canada. IRCC uses the Express Entry program to oversee skilled worker applications for three programs. These are the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, and Canadian Experience Class. Express Entry allows IRCC to facilitate their arrival to the country.
The Express Entry program is a simple, two-step process. In the first step, candidates create and upload profile onto the IRCC’s website under one of the aforementioned skilled worker programs. They receive a CRS score according to their human capital factors. Secondly, the IRCC then holds Express Entry draws bi-weekly and issues Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residence to the highest scoring candidates.
The first two draws of 2021, held on January 6 and 7, were program-specific draws. The cut-off score for these draws was 813 for PNP and 461 for CEC. The recent draws showed a substantial reduction of the required score. Another draw is expected soon, which will be for CEC candidates only. However, IRCC has yet to hold an all-program draw for 2021. Many candidates are still awaiting a draw for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). FSWP is the stream through which skilled workers with no foothold in the country can also dream of immigrating to Canada.
Not to mention the last three draws of 2020 were all stream draws. These draw finished the year with a CRS cut-off of 469. This score was lower than much of the draws throughout 2020. Overall, candidates are hoping for more variety in the draws and continued low CRS scores.