The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently conducted the eighth Express Entry draw of 2023, inviting 7,000 candidates in an all-program draw with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 484. The all-program draw means that candidates from the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) were all considered. The draw size tied for the largest-ever all-program draws on March 15, 2023, where 7,000 candidates were invited with a minimum CRS score of 490. The draw is surprising because it marks the second consecutive week that IRCC has invited Express Entry candidates.
It is noteworthy that Express Entry draws early in 2023 focused largely on candidates in the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). There have been four PNP-only Express Entry draws so far this year, and before that, there were three other PNP draws and one that targeted candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker Program on February 2. However, it appears that IRCC is now back to its regular procedure of considering all candidates in the Express Entry pool.
Express Entry candidates can increase their chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) by obtaining a provincial nomination. Being nominated by a province as an Express Entry candidate automatically adds 600 points to a CRS score, which essentially guarantees the candidate will get an ITA for permanent residence.
Multi-Year Provincial Immigration Plan Endorsed by Immigration Ministers
A recent meeting of the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration (FMRI) saw provincial immigration ministers discussing common issues and methods to attract and retain more newcomers. One outcome of the meeting was the endorsement of the first multi-year provincial immigration plan. This plan will work similarly to the federal Immigration Levels Plan, outlining immigration targets for three years. The provinces will now know their allocation of provincial nominations in advance and will be able to plan accordingly in terms of housing and infrastructure requirements to better support newcomers and retain them.
After the meeting, some provinces announced an increase in PNP allocations for this year over 2022. Ontario will see its allocation rise to 18,000 spots in 2025, Manitoba’s allocation for 2023 has increased by 3,175 spaces over 2022 to 9,500, and Saskatchewan will see an allocation of 7,250 nominees in 2023, increasing to 8,500 in 2025. Alberta will also see a significant increase in allocations for 2023, up to 9,750 from the 6,500 spaces in 2022.
Last week, IRCC offered a reprieve to many Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holders interested in gaining permanent residence. Due to the recent irregular nature of Express Entry draws, which have hurt PGWP holders eligible under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced that PGWP holders would get an 18-month Open Work Permit extension. This means that even more PGWP holders will be able to continue to vie for Express Entry ITAs. IRCC notes that there were some 286,000 PGWP holders in Canada at the end of 2022.
Express Entry System
Express Entry is an application management system for three economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). These programs allow IRCC to select candidates for permanent residence based on the chosen cut-off score in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS ranks all candidates in the Express Entry pool, and the highest-scoring candidates receive an ITA. Provincial Nominee Program candidates who receive invitations in a draw are already Express Entry candidates. Once a candidate receives an ITA, they have 60 days to submit their application.