A map of Western, Central and Northern Canada with a miniature Canadian flag pinned into it

The latest draw from the Express Entry pool, and the 25th since the immigration selection system was launched just over a year ago, took place on January 13, 2016. This draw sees a decrease in the number of Comprehensive Ranking System  (CRS) points required by candidates for Canadian immigration in order to receive an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence.

A total of 1,518 ITAs were issued to candidates with 453 or more CRS points, representing a decrease of eight points from the previous (24th) draw. Indeed, the latest CRS “cut-off” mark is the lowest of any draw over the past three months. The lowest of any draw so far is 450, which was most recently applied on October 2, 2015.

A positive start to a new year under a new government

Since the Canadian federal election took place on October 19, 2015, a total of seven Express Entry draws have taken place. Each of these draws has selected a portion of candidates who do not have a qualifying job offer in Canada or a nomination from a Canadian province. Moreover, the CRS point requirement since the first of these most recent seven draws has decreased from 489 to 453.

This latest draw is also the second to take place within the first two weeks of 2016. In contrast, the first draw of 2015 took place on January 31.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, or CIC) recently stated that 2016 would see more regular draws from the pool, with an increase in the number of candidates issued ITAs in each draw.

“The number of invitations issued per round is expected to increase as the pre-Express Entry inventory of applications is finalised. In turn, it is expected that the minimum score of those that are invited to apply will drop,” stated an IRCC Policy Analyst during a webinar hosted by IRCC on December 16, 2015,

The Policy Analyst added that "we expect that in the new year when our rounds start growing — to meet our new levels plan — that the score will reduce."

From 461 to 453: A small but significant difference

While a decrease of eight points between two draws may appear negligible on first glance, the difference between 461 and 453 is in many cases quite profound.

The CRS awards points based on a range of factors, including a candidate’s age, level of education, work experience (both in Canada and international), language proficiency, and whether the candidate has a qualifying job offer or provincial nomination certificate. Candidates may also be awarded points for certain combinations of what are called “skills transferability” factors, as well as the core human capital credentials of a spouse or common-law partner, if applicable. If a candidate does not have a job offer or provincial nomination, he or she may be invited to apply based on points awarded for core human capital and skills transferability alone.

The decrease from 461 to 453 allows certain candidates, who may not have been awarded a bounty of points for one factor, to compensate for this through strong credentials in other areas. This circumstance is likely to become more apparent if and when IRCC continues to increase the regularity of the draws while also increasing the number of candidates selected.

Express Entry

Express Entry is Canada's immigration management system for the federal economic immigration programs, namely: Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades, and the Canadian Experience Class. Express Entry came into operation on January 1, 2015.

Eligible candidates may submit a profile into the Express Entry pool, where they are ranked according to the CRS. The government of Canada selects the top-ranked candidates on a priority basis when it performs one of its frequent draws from the pool. Candidates who are issued an invitation to apply for permanent residence then have 60 days to submit a complete e-application, from which point the government of Canada aims to process the application within six months. A number of early applicants have had their applications processed in under half that time.

For more information on draws from the Express Entry pool that have taken place so far, click here.

Express Entry quick facts, from January 1, 2015 to January 13, 2016

  • Launch date: January 1, 2015
  • First draw from the pool: January 31, 2015
  • Most recent draw from the pool: January 13, 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: 1,637 (March 27, 2015)
  • Fewest invitations to apply issued in any one draw: 715 (April 17, 2015)
  • 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 (from September 18, 2015 to October 2, 2015 draws)
  • Largest increase in CRS points required between two consecutive draws: 302 (from April 17, 2015 to May 22, 2015 draws)
  • Smallest increase in CRS points required between two consecutive draws: 0 (from September 18, 2015 to October 2, 2015 draws)
  • 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 invitations to apply issued: 34,044

Draws From The Express Entry Pool (Updated)

Date when Invitations To Apply Were Issued Number of Invitations Issued Minimum CRS Points Required Program Specified
1st Express Entry Draw January 31, 2015 779 886 All Programs
2nd Express Entry Draw February 7, 2015 779 818 All Programs
3rd Express Entry Draw February 20, 2015 849 808 Canadian Experience Class
4th Express Entry Draw February 27, 2015 1,187 735 All Programs
5th Express Entry Draw March 20, 2015 1,620 481 All Programs
6th Express Entry Draw March 27, 2015 1,637 453 All Programs
7th Express Entry Draw April 10, 2015 925 469 All Programs
8th Express Entry Draw April 17, 2015 715 453 All Programs
9th Express Entry Draw May 22, 2015 1,361 755 All Programs
10th Express Entry Draw June 12, 2015 1,501 482 All Programs
11th Express Entry Draw June 27, 2015 1,575 469 All Programs
12th Express Entry Draw July 10, 2015 1,516 463 All Programs
13th Express Entry Draw July 17, 2015 1,581 451 All Programs
14th Express Entry Draw August 7, 2015 1,402 471 All Programs
15th Express Entry Draw August 21, 2015 1,523 456 All Programs
16th Express Entry Draw September 8, 2015 1,517 459 All Programs
17th Express Entry Draw September 18, 2015 1,545 450 All Programs
18th Express Entry Draw October 2, 2015 1,530 450 All Programs
19th Express Entry Draw October 23, 2015 1,502 489 All Programs
20th Express Entry Draw November 13, 2015 1,506 484 All Programs
21st Express Entry Draw November 27, 2015 1,559 472 All Programs
22nd Express Entry Draw December 4, 2015 1,451 461 All Programs
23rd Express Entry Draw December 18, 2015 1,503 460 All Programs
24th Express Entry Draw January 6, 2016 1,463 461 All Programs
25th Express Entry Draw January 13, 2016 1,518 453 All Programs