Canada invites all CEC candidates in Saturday Express Entry draw

 Canada’s immigration department recently confirmed that every single person in the Express Entry Pool, who was eligible for CEC or Canadian Experience Class, was invited to apply for permanent residence on 13th February.

That same day, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) invited 27,332 CEC candidates to apply for permanent residence. This figure was nearly six times as large as the Invitations to Apply or ITAs of the previous record of 5000. The CRS cut-off too was 75, another shocking figure, although the average CRS score of invited candidates was 415, as per the information of IRCC.

The Tie-break rule was said to be an administrative requirement though the IRCC abstained from using it. This implies that there was no CEC eligible candidate with a score of 75 or lower who submitted their profile before 12th September 2020.

It is too early to say if the massive draw has caused an upward shift in the number of new Express Entry profiles, especially for people who are in Canada and may be eligible for the CEC.

But it is clear that Canada is prioritizing candidates who are already in Canada, due to the high immigration targets and travel restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The government of Canada has recognized that the country still needs immigrants to help grow the population. Before the pandemic, it was largely known that Canada needed to look at immigration in order to sustain population growth, and make sure that there was a good enough number of workers in the labour market so as to bridge the gap left by retiring baby boomers.

“Immigration remains crucial to addressing Canada’s longstanding demographic challenges and labour market shortages, especially during the pandemic,” said an IRCC spokesperson. “While travel restrictions remain in place to protect the health and safety of Canadians, IRCC is exploring new ways for those who have already been hard at work in Canada to stay permanently.”

What are CEC eligibility requirements?

In order to be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class, you have to submit a profile to the Express Entry system. You will be given a score on the basis of your education, work experience, language ability in English or French, age and other factors.

If you meet the basic eligibility criteria for CEC, IRCC will invite you to apply for permanent residence.

Following are some of the key eligibility requirements to be kept in mind:

  • Having 1,560 hours of paid Canadian work experience in a skilled occupation, which equates to about one year of full time work or two years of part time work;
  • Having a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 7 for managerial or professional occupations (NOC 0 or A), or CLB 5 for technical jobs and skilled trades (NOC B).
  • You also need to be admissible to Canada, and be living outside the province of Quebec, which has its own immigration system.


About 90% of CEC eligible candidates are already living and working in the country, even though it’s not an eligibility requirement.

What do I do if I get an ITA?

If you receive your ITA, you have 90 days to apply for Canadian immigration or else decline your invitation. If you let the 90 days go, your ITA will expire and you will no longer be in the Express Entry pool of candidates.

It is also well to check that you still meet the eligibility requirements for the CEC or the other Express Entry managed program that you were invited to apply for. If any changes in your personal situation lead to you or your spouse losing CRS points, IRCC recommends recalculating your score.

Following are some of the reasons that could reduce your CRS score:

  • You no longer have a valid job offer;
  • You no longer have a provincial nomination; or
  • Your language test scores expired, or were lower after you retested.


If your recalculated score is less than the lowest score in your round of invitations, IRCC says you should decline your invitation, which means you will be put back into the Express Entry pool to be considered for future draws. And while there is no guarantee you will be invited a second time, the alternative of your application being rejected is worse.