What is the change? Canada conducted two Express Entry draws last week, issuing a total of 543 invitations to apply for permanent residency to applicants in the Federal Skilled Trades and Provincial Nominee programs.

What does the change mean? The draws, which were conducted on the same day, marked the rare occasion where Canada used Express Entry to target specific classes of applicants. The number of invitations issued was much lower than a typical draw, but in the case of the draw for applicants in the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the minimum qualifying score of 199 was dramatically lower. The minimum qualifying score in the draw for applicants in the Provincial Nominee Program, in which applicants are automatically awarded at least 600 points, was 775.

Background: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada made changes to the Comprehensive Ranking System in November. The changes benefit candidates with a valid job offer that is not supported by a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment, provided that the employee has worked for the employer for a year and the job is in NOC 0, A or B occupations. The new scoring system also benefits candidates who have completed post-secondary education in Canada. Additional changes to the scoring system are set to go into effect in June, and they should help attract Francophone immigrants and those with siblings in Canada.

There have been 14 draws so far this year:

Date Invitations Score
Jan. 3 2,902 468
Jan. 11 3,334 459
Jan. 25 3,508 453
Feb. 8 3,664 447
Feb. 22 3,611 441
March 1 3,884 434
March 24 3,749 441
April 5 3,753 431
April 12 3,923 423
April 19 3,665 415
May 4 3,796 423
May 17 3,687 415
May 25* 143 775
May 25** 400 199

*PNP nominees only

**Federal Skilled Trades Program applicants only.

BAL Analysis: Last week’s draws were a rarity in that they targeted specific classes of applicants within the Express Entry program. IRCC has done this once before for PNP nominees, but the draw for applicants in the Federal Skilled Trades Program was a first. The minimum qualifying score of 199 in the Federal Skilled Trades Program draw was less than half the minimum qualifying score in standard Express Entry draws, indicating that IRCC opened up Express Entry to a number of candidates who would not have otherwise qualified to apply for permanent residence.

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