In a positive move, Canada invited 27332 Express Entry candidates

The Canadian government has shown great dedication and promise by claiming that its serious about achieving its 401,000 Immigration Levels Plan target in 2021 in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.

As per recent news, Canada’s Express Entry draw made jaw drop by inviting a stunning 27,332 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence in IRCC’s Saturday draw.

This came as a shock to many because since its launch in 2015, the largest Express Entry draws have issued at most 5000 permanent residence invitations at a time. The sheer enormity of the number of invitations drawn can be understood by the fact that the 2021 draw is nearly six times larger than the previous record!

But this is not the only thing that has left heads reeling. Another surprise is the fact that IRCC has invited candidates with a CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System) score of as low as 75. This essentially means that they have invited almost every Express Entry candidate that met the eligibility criteria of the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program.

Express Entry is a competitive system and prior to COVID-19, IRCC would only invite candidates with the highest CRS scores. Before the pandemic, a candidate typically needed a CRS of 470 or above to receive a permanent residence invitation.

Getting a CRS of 470 or above is a pointer of the candidate possessing several years of post-secondary training and perhaps multiple educational credentials, several years of professional work experience, and a strong command of English and/or French. Yesterday’s draw meant that even a candidate with no high school education is welcome to Canada.

So what do we make of all this?

One major takeaway from this draw is that IRCC is serious about doing its best to achieve its Immigration Levels Plan target for 2021. It is aiming to welcome 401,000 new immigrants this year and beyond. This move appears at a time when last year’s immigration to Canada fell to its lowest level since 1998 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One thing to note here is that IRCC only invited CEC candidates in yesterday’s draw since it estimates 90 per cent of them are already in Canada and hence, it will be easier to complete their permanent residence process now than it will be for overseas candidates. It can be safely assumed that IRCC expects to be able to transition these in-home candidates to permanent residency later in 2021, otherwise it would not have held such a large draw. Canada’s Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino has been hinting recently that IRCC will continue to rely on candidates in Canada to support its immigration levels targets.

Another point to note here is that IRCC cannot fulfil its target of 401,000 permanent residents in 2021 solely on the basis of Express Entry candidates currently in Canada. But this move has shown that instead of underestimating the Canadian Government, we should sit ready in anticipation for more unexpected things to come.

Another takeaway is that it is in each candidate’s best interests to enter the Express Entry pool. Sometimes candidates opt against entering the pool because they believe their CRS score is too low or in recent times, because IRCC has given preference to inviting CEC and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates, rather than Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) candidates. However, Express Entry is unpredictable, and it is self-defeating to exclude oneself from the pool. You can never guess what IRCC is going to do, so you might as well take a chance. Who knows, you might an invitation even if your score is as low as 75!

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) candidates (who tend to make up the majority of successful Express Entry candidates), may be feeling demoralized right now. They also deserve to be invited to apply for permanent residence but IRCC is focusing on Express Entry candidates within the country.

But FSWP candidates should not lose hope for the following two reasons:

First, IRCC will eventually get to FSWP candidates. Even last year, IRCC had organised PNP and CEC draws at the start of the pandemic, but then closed 2020 by holding an all-program draw. It might do the candidates good to remain patient and hope for the best outcome.

Second, yesterday’s draws are proof that there is nothing the IRCC isn’t willing to try to achieve its immigration targets. If the IRCC is willing to invite 27,332 CEC candidates in one draw, what other great things can we expect? Sky is the limit. If you are an FSWP candidate, it would be best to submit the strongest possible Express Entry profile so that you can give yourself the best possible chance to receive an invitation. FSWP immigrants have long been, and will continue to be vital to Canada’s prosperity, so there could be a chance that maybe the IRCC will considerable reduce the CRC cut-off required for the FSWP candidates.

In a press release yesterday, IRCC stated “IRCC will continue to accept and process Express Entry applications and looks forward to welcoming skilled workers from abroad when travel resumes.”