Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued 3,250 invitations to apply in the most recent Express Entry draw on September 14, the sixth draw round since all-program draws resumed on July 6th.
The minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) cut-off score was 511. There was no specified programme for the draw, so invitations were issued to candidates from the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). Express Entry is one of the most popular immigration routes to Canada.
The number of candidates receiving ITAs increased by 250 with each draw until the final draw on August 31. Last week saw a significant increase of 500 ITAs, and today's draw continues that trend. The minimum CRS score has also gradually declined, losing between eight and nine points per draw. This draw, however, is unique in that there was only a five-point decrease. In the July 6 draw, the minimum CRS score was 557.
Beginning in late December 2020, IRCC suspended all Express Entry draws for a period of 18 months. Only candidates eligible for permanent residence under the CEC or the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) were invited to apply during this time. CEC draws, however, were also halted in September 2021.
According to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, Canada will break its current record of 405,330 new immigrants per year by the end of 2022. Canada had already welcomed over 300,000 new permanent residents in 2022 as of the end of June.
This year, Canada has accepted 40,785 immigrants via Express Entry. If immigration continues at its current rate, Canada may even surpass the 2022 Immigration Levels Plan target of nearly 432,000.
To accommodate these numbers, IRCC has taken steps such as digitising the application process and hiring an additional 1,250 new employees.
Canada continues to push for more immigration as it struggles to deal with historically low unemployment and over one million job openings. The increased retirement rate over the next decade, combined with a low birth rate, means that Canada cannot support its labour force or economy without immigration.
To better target labour-force gaps, IRCC intends to make significant changes to Express Entry in 2023. Most notably, these amendments would grant the department authority to issue ITAs to individuals who have specific work experience, education, or language ability. Any candidate from a group they believe will be well-positioned to support Canada's economy and labour force could be chosen. This will influence the utility of CRS scores in some cases, and they may become less important in some future draws.
While speaking on stage at Collision, a technology conference in June, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser explained the rationale for this proposal, saying, "If we can project skills that will be needed over the next 20 to 30 years, we can bring people who can hit the ground running and make a significant economic impact."