Toronto seen from Lake Ontario, with a Canadian flag fluttering in the foreground

The latest Express Entry draw for immigration to Canada has resulted in 1,936 candidates in the pool with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 497 being issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA). Unlike the previous draw, which took place on November 30 and only issued ITAs to candidates with a provincial nomination, the December 16 draw was not program specific; all candidates in the pool with at least 497 CRS points received an ITA, regardless of the program they were eligible under or whether or not they had a provincial nomination certificate.

Although this is the second draw that has taken place since changes to the system were implemented on November 19, it is the first non-program-specific draw since that date. Therefore, it is viewed by many stakeholders as the first indication of how the distribution of candidates in the CRS may have been affected by those changes, which included the awarding of points to former international students in Canada and a substantial decrease in the number of CRS points that may be awarded for a job offer.

However, the number of candidates who may claim points for a job offer has increased. The requirements surrounding the job offer have been relaxed to include many candidates holding an employer-specific work permit in Canada, such as a NAFTA work permit or a work permit issued to Intra-company transferees.

Consequently, it was expected that the CRS cut-off point in the first non-program-specific draw after the changes have come into force may actually go up to allow for the fact that more candidates with job offers may claim additional points. This has turned out to be the case, as the CRS cut-off point has increased to 497 from 470 (ignoring the intervening program-specific draw, held on November 30).

Once this initial group of candidates has exited the pool, however, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) expects the CRS cut-off point to decrease. Stakeholders should note IRCC’s desired and expected outcome of the recent changes, which state that candidates without a job offer are likely to have a better chance of receiving an ITA. Indeed, at the recent Annual Immigration Law Summit, held this past November in Toronto, an IRCC representative stated that 'A reduction of points to candidates with arranged employment means the CRS cut-off will decline.'

Program-specific draws have been rare since Express Entry was first launched nearly two years ago. Of the 49 draws that have taken place, only two have made an additional determination of who may receive an ITA based on a specific program.

IRCC has also gone on record as stating its objective 'to put greater weight on human capital, skills and experience.' From January to September, 2016, 35 percent of ITAs were issued to candidates without a job offer or provincial nomination; IRCC expects this figure to increase over time.

Express Entry

Express Entry is the system used by IRCC to select candidates for immigration to Canada through the federal economic immigration programs. Candidates who wish to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class, and Canadian Experience Class are required to do so through Express Entry.

Eligible candidates create a profile which is submitted to the Express Entry pool. Upon entering the pool, candidates are assigned a CRS score which determines their ranking in the pool. The highest-ranking candidates are issued an ITA in IRCC’s periodic draws.

Candidates in the pool may increase their ranking in a number of ways. Learn more about increasing CRS score and ranking.

For more information on draws from the Express Entry pool that have taken place so far, consult this table.

Express Entry quick facts, from January 1, 2015 to December 16, 2016

  • Launch date: January 1, 2015
  • First draw from the pool: January 31, 2015
  • Most recent draw from the pool: December 16, 2016
  • Minimum CRS points required for selection in any one draw: 450 (September 18, 2015 & October 2, 2015)
  • Largest number of invitations to apply issued in any one draw: 2,427 (November 16, 2016)
  • Fewest invitations to apply issued in any one draw: 559 (November 30, 2016. Note: This draw invited candidates with a provincial nomination only.)
  • Largest decrease in CRS points required between two consecutive draws: 273 (from May 22, 2015 to June 12, 2015 draws)
  • Smallest decrease in CRS points required between two consecutive draws: 0 (on three occasions)
  • Largest increase in CRS points required between two consecutive draws: 316 (from November 16, 2016 to November 30. Note: The latter draw invited candidates with a provincial nomination only.)
  • Smallest increase in CRS points required between two consecutive draws: 0 (on three occasions)
  • Longest gap between two consecutive draws: 35 days (from April 17, 2015 to May 22, 2015 draws)
  • Shortest gap between two consecutive draws: 7 days (on seven occasions)
  • Total number of ITAs issued in 2015: 31,063
  • Total number of ITAs issued in 2016: 29,100
  • Total number of ITAs issued since system was launched: 60,163

Draws From The Express Entry Pool (Updated)

Express Entry Draws: 2016

Draw # Minimum CRS Score Required Date of Draw # of ITAs Issued
49 497 December 16, 2016 1,936
48 786 (*candidates with a provincial nomination only) November 30, 2016 559
47 470 November 16, 2016 2,427
46 472 November 2, 2016 2,080
45 475 October 19, 2016 1,804
44 484 October 12, 2016 1,518
43 483 September 21, 2016 1,288
42 491 September 7, 2016 1,000
41 538 August 24, 2016 750
40 490 August 10, 2016 754
39 488 July 27, 2016 755
38 482 July 13, 2016 747
37 482 June 29, 2016 773
36 488 June 15, 2016 752
35 483 June 1, 2016 762
34 484 May 18, 2016 763
33 534 May 6, 2016 799
32 468 April 20, 2016 1,018
31 470 April 6, 2016 954
30 470 March 23, 2016 1,014
29 473 March 8, 2016 1,013
28 453 February 24, 2016 1,484
27 459 February 10, 2016 1,505
26 457 January 28, 2016 1,468
25 453 January 13, 2016 1,518
24 461 January 6, 2016 1,463

Express Entry Draws: 2015

Draw # Minimum CRS Score Required Date of Draw # of ITAs Issued
23 460 December 18, 2015 1,503
22 461 December 4, 2015 1,451
21 472 November 27, 2015 1,559
20 484 November 13, 2015 1,506
19 489 October 23, 2015 1,502
18 450 October 2, 2015 1,530
17 450 September 18, 2015 1,545
16 459 September 8, 2015 1,517
15 456 August 21, 2015 1,523
14 471 August 7, 2015 1,402
13 451 July 17, 2015 1,581
12 463 July 10, 2015 1,516
11 469 June 27, 2015 1,575
10 482 June 12, 2015 1,501
9 755 May 22, 2015 1,361
8 453 April 17, 2015 715
7 469 April 10, 2015 925
6 453 March 27, 2015 1,637
5 481 March 20, 2015 1,620
4 735 February 27, 2015 1,187
3 808 (*Canadian Experience Class only) February 20, 2015 849
2 818 February 7, 2015 779
1 886 January 31, 2015 779

To find out if you are eligible for immigration to Canada, please fill out a free online assessment today.