IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) started the second quarter of 2021 by issuing invitations to 5000 Canadian Experience Class (CEC) applicants on the 1st of April. This draw saw a CRS (Comprehensive Ranking Score) cut off at 432 points, with a tie-break at feb 16, 2021 UTC: 09:51:22.
Two days before this was the PNP draw at 778 CRS, which meant that any candidates with actual score of 178, received the invitation to apply for Permanent Residence (ITA), since a provincial nomination adds 600 points on the Express Entry profile. 284 candidates were selected in this draw.
This is the second time in a row that IRCC has held back to back draws for CEC and PNP class under Express Entry. In case last year’s results are any indicator, IRCC will continue to conduct program-specific CEC and PNP draws in the coming months and maybe together.
Only in the second half of 2020, IRCC went back to all-program draws, and it’s possible we will see the same trend continuing this year too. The delay in All programme Draws could be because of the backlog of applicants waiting with their confirmation of PR (COPR) to be able to cross the Canadian Border. Travel restrictions have been in effect since March of 2020. Few foreign nationals, such as close family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, some temporary foreign workers, and some international students, are excluded from the restrictions. But, recently accepted economic class immigrants from other countries have been unable to complete their Landing because of the pandemic. And IRCC does view CEC and PNP applicants as future Permanent Residents. With a surmountable target of 401,000 immigrants by the end of 2021, IRCC is looking in the direction of inland applicants.
The Historic February 13, 2021 Draw
On February 13, IRCC held the historic, landmark draw inviting a total of 27,332 immigration applicants to qualify for permanent residency. In this record-breaking draw, only Canadian Experience Class applicants were accepted, and they only required a measly never-before CRS score of 75 to be invited. This was the lowest CRS threshold ever. Prior to this draw, CRS cut-offs have easily been over 400 points.
Aligned Express Entry and PNP stream
The federal Express Entry system is aligned with several PNP streams. This ensures the provinces and territories are using the Express Entry pool to invite immigrant applicants to qualify for a provincial nomination. Provincial nomination adds up another 600 points towards the total CRS score essentially guaranteeing an invitation to apply for Express Entry. Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island all were able to issue invitations to the candidates.
The new normal
IRCC is now working on inviting Express Entry applicants who are more likely to be in Canada during the pandemic. Program-specific draws have become the new normal for the time being. IRCC does see this as a solution. Period leading up to the pandemic, it may have considered all stream candidates in its Express Entry draws, but now it is considering only those candidates who are either being invited due to provincial labour market demands or are possibly staying in Canada at the time.
Applicants qualifying for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), which have previously made up the majority of Express Entry candidates to become permanent residents prior to the pandemic, were especially affected by this policy change. In the first quarter, Canada conducted ten Express Entry draws. Six of them invited PNP candidates, and the other four invited CEC candidates. Candidates for the CEC received 41,708 invitations, while candidates for the PNP received 2,416 invitations.