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Analysis: Factors that may affect Express Entry CRS scores

Analysis: Factors that may affect Express Entry CRS scores

An early evaluation of the initial Express Entry draws for all programmers in 2022. As of July 6, Canada has restarted all-program Express Entry drawings.

Since then, each draw has granted 250 more Invitations to Apply (ITAs), resulting in a reduction in the minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score criteria.

However, the thresholds for passing are still extremely high. For the most recent Express Entry lottery, applicants needed a minimum score of 533.

Candidates would need to be reasonably young, highly educated, have work experience, possibly be bilingual, and have a score this high to qualify for an ITA.

The CRS threshold will normally be lower the more Express Entry applicants Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) invites. However, a considerable number of Express Entry applicants with scores above 501 are now in the pool, in part because of unmet demand.

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) draws have been put on hold by IRCC since December 2020, while the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) draws were put on hold in September 2021.

Since there were no drawings encouraging them to apply during this time, the number of applicants with scores higher than 501 in the pool increased. Up to 12 months are allowed for Express Entry profiles to remain in the pool.

As a result, compared to a per- pandemic, the pool's high-scoring prospects have increased dramatically. There were around 21,900 Express Entry applicants in the pool on March 3, 2020, the final draw before COVID-19 was deemed a pandemic, with scores ranging from 450 to 600. There were 66,813 Express Entry applicants in the same bracket in the draw on August 3, 2022.

The most recent data available on the government website shows that 8,975 Express Entry applicants have scores between 501 and 600. This number represents fewer applicants in this category than the July 20 Express Entry draw, although it is still higher than what was seen on July 6. This indicates that more individuals with high test scores are entering the pool, but not quickly enough to stop the CRS cutoff from falling.

Another element that may impact how much the CRS score falls is the quantity of Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates in the pool. The provinces set this number because they are the ones that announce nominations.

The Express Entry candidate's ability to reply quickly to a request to submit an application for a nomination (if they choose to) and the length of time it takes the province to complete the nomination are then key factors.

The increase of 250 ITAs each draw in the last three draws has been sufficient to counteract the influx of new Express Entry and PNP applicants. As a result, the CRS rating has kept declining. It will take 30 weeks for draw sizes to equal the 5,000 we saw in December 2020 if IRCC keeps adding 250 ITAs every two weeks. March 8, 2023, would be that date.

Every draw between January 8 and March 4, 2020, had an average of 3,700 ITAs. If draws increase at the current rate, it will take IRCC 20 weeks, or until December 28, 2022, to surpass this amount. Naturally, IRCC is not required to perform draws every two weeks, and the department is free to change invites as necessary.

As we've seen during the pandemic, the department's capacity to uphold its processing criteria of 80% of applications completed in six months, as well as the multi-year immigration levels plan, will determine the number of invites given.

What is said in the immigration levels plan for 2022–2024?

In 2022, the IRCC anticipates receiving roughly 55,900 Express Entry applicants. Internal briefing materials inform us that the people in the immigration backlog will make up this number.

However, among the 75,750 anticipated for 2023 are new Express Entry applicants. Application for permanent residence must be made within 60 days of receiving an invitation by an ITA holder, and the IRCC may need up to six months to process the application. The Express Entry target will then increase to 111,500 in 2024, which is on par with the annual Express Entry targets in 2021.

What conclusions can we draw from this?

Keep in mind the following criteria if you want your CRS scores to decrease so you can acquire an ITA:
The IRCC does not announce its draw plans in advance. It can decide on draw sizes depending on its preferences and hold draws whenever it pleases. However, the Express Entry targets contained in the immigration levels plan, which is scheduled to be amended by November 1, can affect draw sizes. As more invites are sent out, CRS ratings often decline.

The number of PNP applicants or high-scoring Express Entry applicants in the pool, however, can also have an impact on the cutoff scores.

Due to the 18-month break in all-program draws, there are currently more applicants with scores above 501 in the pool than usual. Because the agency has sufficiently processed the backlog of applications to meet its processing requirement, the IRCC resumed draws in July. Candidates that are asked to apply can anticipate a six-month processing time for their applications.

Thinking forward

Early in 2023, IRCC anticipates organizing draws targeted at an economic objective, such as occupation, language proficiency, or another criterion. As a result, CRS ratings and programmer types might no longer be the main determining elements in ITA awarding.

Furthermore, a motion introduced by Randeep Sarai, the member of parliament for Surrey Center, British Columbia, mandates that Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, present a plan by September 8 on how to give more weight to in-Canada work experience under economic immigration programmers, among other priorities.

Fraser is urged to "Expand paths to Permanent Residence for international students and temporary foreign employees through the Express Entry system" in the minister's mandate letter, which was presented to the House in December.

In a June interview with CIC News, the minister clarified that this does not necessarily imply that applicants will receive more points under the Express Entry scheme.

I'm really hoping for that because I think it's a great opportunity for Canada. "Over the coming several months we should be able to give some clarity as to what these routes may look like," Fraser said.

The provinces of Canada are also requesting more control over immigration. Four immigration ministers from Canadian provinces—Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta—signed a letter asking for more control over immigration.

Both Saskatchewan and Ontario are asking for more control over immigration as well as more nominations to send invitations to applicants. If they are successful, candidates for Express Entry may have even more chances to obtain permanent residency through the PNP.

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