Canada issued 86,022 invitations to apply for permanent residence through the federal Express Entry program in 2017, according to a new report from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The number of invitations was more than double the 33,782 in 2016, with the bulk of the increase coming in the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Canadian Experience Class.

Some of the report’s key points:

  • Express Entry is now the “main source of permanent residence applications” in Canada’s economic immigration category. In 2017, Canada sent 86,022 invitations to apply, received 109,497 applications and issued 93,596 visas for permanent residence through Express Entry.
  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Canadian Experience Class saw the biggest increases from 2016 to 2017. Invitations to candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker Program rose from 8,332 in 2016 to 41,364 in 2017. Invitations to candidates in the Canadian Experience Class rose from 15,102 to 35,020. Invitations to provincial nominees dropped slightly from 8,798 to 8,732.
  • Tens of thousands of invitations were issued to applicants with relatively low Comprehensive Ranking System scores. Candidates are given a CRS score based on a number of factors, including skills, education, language ability, work experience and whether they have a job offer or provincial nomination. Of the 86,022 invitations to apply, 38,932 were sent to applicants with a CRS score between 451 and 500 on the 1,200-point scale and 33,252 were sent to applicants with a score between 401 and 450. This indicates that a high number of applicants were invited to apply for permanent residence without a job offer or provincial nomination.
  • More than half of the invitations were issued to applicants living outside Canada. In 2016, 64 percent of candidates who received invitations to apply were residing in Canada at the time. That number dropped to 49 percent last year. India and the United States were the second and third most common countries of residence, followed by Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, China and South Africa.

BAL Analysis: The IRCC report highlights the efforts Canada is making through the Express Entry program to invite more applicants to apply for permanent residence. On the whole, Canada is aiming to accept nearly 1 million new immigrants between 2018 and 2020 and officials have continued to issue a high number of invitations to apply in Express Entry draws so far this year. IRCC said it would “continue to monitor Express Entry results, and adjust processes and policies as needed,” but for now, the high number of invitations and relatively low CRS-score cutoffs are good news for applicants.

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

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