What is the change? Canada conducted its 21st Express Entry draw Friday. The lowest qualifying score was 472 and 1,559 new invitations to apply were issued.

What does the change mean? The minimum qualifying score remained below 600 points, indicating that some candidates were able to obtain an invitation to apply for permanent residency without an LMIA-supported job offer or provincial nomination.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Permanent residency 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: This is the twelfth consecutive draw in which the lowest qualifying score has been below the 600 mark.

Background: The Express Entry system ranks candidates on a 1,200-point scale based on education, skills and language ability. Candidates earn 600 points if they have an LMIA-based job offer or provincial nomination. The early draws required a minimum score in the high 800s. Since June, all draws have recorded minimum scores below 600. To date, 28,109 invitations to apply have been issued.

BAL Analysis: The minimum qualifying score is expected to remain low in upcoming draws as the inventory of applications is cleared, which in turn will cause the number of invitations to apply to increase. The relatively low total number of invitations to apply in 2015 should also increase in 2016, as more candidates switch to the Express Entry system as the main channel to permanent residency.

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.

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact