For the first time since 2020, Canada invited skilled immigrants who were looking to immigrate to Canada from overseas through the Express Entry system for the Federal Skilled Worker Class this July.
The Express Entry system manages three programs:
- The Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP)
- The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
Express Entry candidates receive invitations to apply (ITAs) based on their Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS).
IRCC issues ITAs roughly every two weeks to candidates who meet the CRS cut-off in the Express Entry pool. All Express Entry draws have been general this year, choosing candidates from the CEC and the FSWP.
Comprehensive Ranking System in 2022
IRCC resumed Express Entry Visa draws on July 6th, inviting 1,500 candidates with a CRS score of at least 557.
In subsequent draws, IRCC increased the number of candidates (in the most recent draw, to 4,750), while decreasing the cut-off for CRS criteria to below 500.
Labour shortages are still high throughout the country after COVID, as Canada grapples with its post-COVID reality. As a result, Express Entry is likely to return in 2022, and the CRS score is progressively lowering. Canada has identified immigration as a means to address urgent economic needs.
Is It Possible to Predict the Future of CRS Using Past Scores?
Based on previous CRS cut-offs, it may initially seem like predicting future scores could be relatively straightforward. As draws increase and time passes, CRS cut-offs continue to decrease. However, the situation is actually much more complex than it seems.
CRS cut-offs are difficult to predict based on past scores because they lack a clear pattern in how they change. According to the graph below, CRS cut-offs are negatively correlated with their respective draws, but we cannot accurately map future CRS scores based on this correlation, because the cut-offs do not consistently drop from draw to draw.
In this case, the trend line (yellow) differs from the gradient (white) based on real-score data. The reason is that CRS dropped by 15 points between July 6th and 20th, but only dropped 3 points between November 9th and 23rd). The prediction of CRS scores for the future would be easier if these drops were consistent.
It can be seen from the statistical analysis that the standard deviation among Express Entry CRS cut-offs in 2022 was 21.6 points. This is a significant margin for error for candidates in the Express Entry pool.
The cut-off scores also are impacted by certain policy arrangements, which makes this method unreliable for predicting CRS.
What Factors Affect the Cut-Off Score for the CRS?
A key point to note is that IRCC is completely in control of the CRS cut-offs. As a result, the department is free to choose CRS cut-offs and invite immigrants according to Canada’s economic needs, without being bound by patterns or trends.
A dramatic example of this occurred in February 2021, when IRCC invited 27,000 new immigrants under the CEC, with a CRS cut-off of 75—the lowest ever in Express Entry.
As a second factor to consider, certain types of applications are already in process, which can lead to an increase in the CRS score cutoff. With an enhanced provincial nomination through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), candidates in the Express Entry pool can earn up to 600 additional CRS points.
In the CEC, candidates often have both Canadian education and work experience, two factors that can dramatically increase CRS scores, and skew cut-offs overall.
Future of CRS in 2023
Bill C-19, which is set to be enacted in 2023, has the potential to significantly impact immigration policy. We cannot be sure what the future CRS cut-offs will be.
This bill, passed in June of 2022, allows the immigration minister to create groups (based on policy aims) within the Express Entry pool and issue ITAs to the people who wish to immigrate to Canada.
By targeting specific in-demand professions and occupations, the IRCC intends to directly address economic needs in 2023.
According to the new Express Entry update, between 2023 and 2025, Canada hopes to welcome 203,220 new immigrants through Express Entry-managed programs.