Canada Holds First Draw for Federal Skilled Workers in Express Entry History

Posted Feb 2, 2023 3:22 PM EST

IRCC today held the fourth Express Entry draw of 2023.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has issued invitations to 3,300 applicants with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 489. The draw applied only to Federal Skilled Worker Program applicants for the first time since Express Entry began in 2015. This was the second program-specific draw of 2023 following the results of the February 1 during which only candidates who had already received a provincial nomination were granted an ITA.

Express Entry in 2023

Typically, Express Entry draws take place every two weeks on Wednesdays. However, the draws in 2023 have deviated from the routine seen since Express Entry was created in 2015.

This year’s first draw, on January 11, took place after an unexpected six-week break following the November 23 draw. IRCC suggested in an email to CIC News that the pause was due to a computer system issue caused by the implementation of NOC 2021.

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There were 5,500 applicants invited on January 11 with minimum CRS scores of 507. This was the highest number of applicants, with the lowest CRS cut-off score, since all program draws resumed after a 18-month interruption in the event of a pandemic between December 2020 and July. 2022.

There was another draw the following week, on January 18, which invited the same number of applicants but with a much lower minimum CRS score of 490. This draw came as a surprise as IRCC does not typically issue ITAs to applicants in consecutive weeks.

IRCC is holding an Express Entry draw for PCP applicants only

Most recently, the February 1 draw took place after a scheduled two-week break, but it was the first draw since June 2022 that only invited Express Entry candidates who had received a provincial nomination. It is unusual for IRCC to hold programme-specific draws, even before the pandemic. With a few exceptions for the federal skilled trades program, almost all Express Entry draws have been draws for all programs.

IRCC has not held an Express Entry PNP-only draw since pausing the draw for all programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the break, Express Entry draws continued for candidates in the Express Entry pool who had already received a provincial nomination.

Provincial nominees automatically receive an additional 600 CRS points on their Express Entry application.

What to expect next

Express Entry is subject to change this year following Royal Assent of Bill C-19. The new law gives the Minister of Immigration the power to invite candidates to meet Canada’s economic priorities and fill urgent labor shortages. It is expected that IRCC will start running draws targeting specific attributes rather than issuing ITAs based solely on CRS scores.

IRCC recently completed public consultations on what the new attribute-based categories might look like. Candidate attributes can range from occupation, education, work experience, or language skills. The department says new categories will be announced ahead of the draws.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is the application management system for three Canadian immigration programs: the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates in the Express Entry pool are already eligible for at least one of these programs.

Express Entry uses a point-based system, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), to rank candidate profiles. Top-scoring applicants receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and can then apply for permanent residency.

Once the candidate has applied, an IRCC officer reviews the application and decides if it is approved. Once this is completed, if approved, the candidate is now a permanent resident of Canada and one step closer to Canadian citizenship.

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