What is the change? Canada conducted its 23rd Express Entry draw today accepting a lowest qualifying score of 460 and issuing 1,503 invitations to apply.

What does the change mean? The lowest minimum score remains below 600, indicating that some candidates were invited to apply for permanent residence without an LMIA-supported job offer or provincial nomination.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Permanent residence through Express Entry.
  • Who is affected: Canadian employers 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.
  • Business impact: The minimum qualifying score is expected to remain low for the rest of the year as immigration authorities clear their inventory of cases.

Background: Introduced in January, the Express Entry system ranks candidates on a 1,200-point scale based on various factors including education, skills and language ability. Candidates earn 600 points if they have an LMIA-based job offer or provincial nomination. While the early draws required a minimum score in the high 800s, the minimum qualifying score dropped sharply in March and hit a low of 450 in September. Since June, all draws have recorded minimum scores below 600. To date, 31,063 invitations to apply have been issued.

BAL Analysis: Citizenship and Immigration Canada continues to clear its backlog of pre-Express Entry cases from 2014. Officials have recently projected that in 2016 they expect the number of invitations to apply to increase and the minimum qualifying scores to drop.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Canada. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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