Express Entry Report: Looking at the Third Quarter of 2017

October 5, 2017

By Canadian Immigration News |

So far, 2017 has proven to be a dynamic and active year for Canada’s Express Entry immigration selection system. At the end of this year’s third quarter, the number of candidates issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) is the highest it has ever been since Canada first introduced the Express Entry selection system in January, 2015.

Despite the decrease of ITAs issued in the third quarter of 2017 in comparison to the record high number of ITAs issued in the second quarter, the number of ITAs issued was more than double the number for the same period last year. Additionally, the third quarter of 2017 saw a decrease in the minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score required in order for a candidate to be issued an ITA.

The large number of ITAs issued thus far in 2017 follows a stated goal from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to utilize the Express Entry system to welcome newcomers based on human capital factors over other factors, such as an offer of employment. Improvements to the system made last November and in June, 2017 have helped IRCC to realize this objective.

July, August and September by the numbers

In the third quarter of this year, a total of 18,135 ITAs were issued, 12,841 more than over the same time period in 2016. During the third quarters of 2015 and 2016, a total of 9,084 and 5,294 ITAs were issued, respectively.

The third quarter of 2017 saw 26 percent more ITAs issued than the sum of ITAs issued in the third quarters of 2015 and 2016. As indicated in the graph below, every quarter of 2017 has witnessed a record-breaking number of ITAs issued in comparison to previous years.

Overall, 69,420 ITAs have been issued up to and including the third quarter of 2017 to candidates in the Express Entry pool. This figure is more than three times larger than the 20,580 ITAs issued up to the same period in 2016, and all together higher than the total number of ITAs issued in any previous annual total.

Decrease of CRS cut-off threshold

Over the late summer months of 2017, IRCC invited candidates over a series of six Express Entry draws, two draws fewer than the previous quarter. In the third quarter, the lowest CRS points requirement of 433 occurred in two instances, the August 9 draw and again on September 20.

The graph below indicates the CRS cut-off thresholds over the course of 2017, with the third quarter highlighted.

Over the course of the third quarter, the CRS points requirement went from 449 coming into the quarter to 433, in the final draw of September. The first draw of the quarter saw the largest decrease between two draws, with a drop of nine points to 440, though the eight-point decrease between the draws that took place on August 2 and August 9 was another significant decrease in CRS cut-off requirements.

Provinces actively seeking candidates

Provincial nomination continues to be the single most valuable way for Express Entry candidates to increase their CRS score. In the third quarter of 2017, British Columbia (BC) and Saskatchewan introduced changes to their Express Entry-aligned enhanced Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). This is a clear indication that provinces continue to recognize the significance of Express Entry as a main driver of economic immigration to Canada.

In late July, the province of Saskatchewan introduced an expanded list of eligible in-demand occupations for its popular International Skilled Worked- Express Entry category of the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP). With an expanded list, eligible candidates in the federal pool with work experience in one of 43 in-demand occupations are given the opportunity to submit an application for provincial nomination under the SINP, when the sub-category reopens on a first-come, first served basis, as has occurred four times so far in 2017. Many of these occupations are geared towards candidates in the technology sector, though candidates across many other sectors may also be eligible.

Another benefit for tech and IT candidates was the announcement by the government of BC of a new BC Tech Pilot, where tech-focused draws target individuals from a list of specific occupations to meet the demand for tech talent in BC. The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) operates its own points-based immigration system, part of which is aligned with the federal Express Entry system. Over the summer months, scores for Express Entry-aligned categories in BC have decreased, allowing more candidates in the federal Express Entry pool a greater chance of receiving an enhanced provincial nomination, which, like the SINP sub-category mentioned above, comes with 600 additional CRS points and an ITA at a subsequent draw.

Meanwhile, other provinces across Canada have continued to leverage Express Entry into their respective PNPs, providing opportunities for candidates in the pool to increase their scores.

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