The Government of Canada has invited 2,750 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence in a draw that took place January 24.
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) cut-off score for this draw was 444, a reduction of two points from the previous Express Entry draw on January 10, which had a CRS cut-off score of 446.
As with the the five previous draws, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) employed a tie-break rule. In this case, the time and date of the tie-break was January 17, 2018 at 12:33:00 UTC. This means that all candidates with a CRS score above 444, as well as those candidates with scores of 444 who entered their profile in the Express Entry pool before this time, will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA).
Both the first and second draws of 2018 already have CRS scores well below the first two draws of 2017, which went on to set a number of Express Entry records.
Sixteen draws over the first half of 2017 eventually led to a record low CRS cut-off score of 413 on May 31.
As part of its three-year immigration levels plan unveiled last November, IRCC has set an admissions target of 74,900 for Express Entry for 2018, an increase of 3,200 over its target for 2017.
If the higher admissions target for 2018 translates into more frequent draws, that could also mean further record-breaking CRS cut-off scores.
The start of 2018 has also seen activity among Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams in Manitoba and Ontario. Such PNPs are becoming an increasingly popular fast-track option for Express Entry candidates.
On January 22, Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities Stream issued 340 Notifications of Interest to Express Entry candidates who had submitted their profile between January 1 and January 19. On January 11, Manitoba’s Express Entry Pathway issued 155 Letters of Advice to Apply to Express Entry candidates who have also submitted a profile with the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP).
Express Entry candidates with a provincial nomination receive an additional 600 CRS points, putting them well within reach of an ITA in a subsequent draw.
Here’s an example of fictional candidates who would have met the CRS cut-off threshold in this latest draw:
Chetan is 35 years old, and has been working as a management consultant for four years. He has an MBA and has written the IELTS and obtained a score of 8 in each category. While Chetan has never worked or studied in Canada, his CRS score of 445 would have been sufficient to obtain an ITA during the January 24 draw.
Leo is 29 years old and has been working in Canada for two years as a programmer since completing his bachelor’s degree in Alberta. Leo has an adequate intermediate English language proficiency, and before coming to Canada, he worked for one year as a retail manager overseas. Leo recently got married to Elisa, who has a bachelor’s degree from overseas, as well as an adequate intermediate English language proficiency in speaking and listening, plus an initial intermediate proficiency in reading and writing. Leo’s CRS score of 444 would have been sufficient to obtain an ITA during the January 24 draw.
“Today’s CRS cut-off may not be a big drop over the previous draw, but it’s a better start than any previous year under the Express Entry system,” said Attorney David Cohen, senior partner with the Canadian immigration law firm Campbell, Cohen. “Even 2017 started much higher, and it eventually saw a CRS low of 413.”