What is the change? Canada conducted its 27th Express Entry draw of 2016 Thursday, issuing 2,878 invitations to apply for permanent residency. The lowest qualifying score was 475.

What does the change mean? More candidates were invited to apply than in any other draw this year. Additionally, under the new Express Entry scoring system, a minimum qualifying score of 475 indicates that Canada may be issuing invitations to apply to candidates with lower scores on “human capital factors” such as age, education level and language proficiency.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Permanent residency through Express Entry.
  • Who is affected: Canadian companies sponsoring foreign nationals through one of four skilled migration programs: Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades, Canadian Experience Class and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program.

Background: In 2015, Canada issued 31,063 invitations to apply through Express Entry. Officials projected a greater number for 2016, and, after the most recent draw, have issued 33,941 invitations to apply this year.

Express Entry Draws in 2016:

Date Invitations Score Date Invitations Score
Jan. 6 1,463 461 July 13 747 482
Jan. 13 1,518 453 July 27 755 488
Jan. 27 1,468 457 Aug. 10 754 490
Feb. 10 1,505 459 Aug. 24 750 538
Feb. 24 1,484 453 Sept. 7 1,000 491
March 9 1,013 473 Sept. 21 1,288 483
March 23 1,014 470 Oct. 12 1,518 484
April 6 954 470 Oct. 19 1,804 475
April 20 1,018 468 Nov. 2 2,080 472
May 6 799 534   Nov. 16 2,427 470
May 18 763 484   Nov. 30* 559 (PNP nominees only) 786
June 1 762 483   Dec. 16* 1,936 497
June 15 752 488   Dec. 22* 2,878 475
June 29 773 482  

*Draws conducted after new scoring system was implemented.

Thursday’s draw was the third since Canada announced it was switching to a new scoring system for its Express Entry program. And while a lowest qualifying score of 475 may not look much different from other minimum scores throughout 2016, it is an indication that Canada is beginning to broaden the pool of candidates.

The new scoring system automatically awards 50 points to candidates with a valid job offer in a NOC 0, A or B occupation. An additional 30 points are automatically awarded to those who have completed at least a three-year post-secondary course in Canada. When the automatic points are figured into the equation, a minimum score of 475 may indicate that Canada is accepting more candidates with lower scores on the human capital factors listed above.

BAL Analysis: The changes to the ranking system in Express Entry were expected to broaden the pool of candidates who obtain an invitation to apply for permanent residency, and the most recent draw indicates that this is beginning to happen. BAL will continue to follow Express Entry draws in the new year to determine whether this development becomes a sustained trend.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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