The first quarter of 2019 has officially surpassed the first quarter of 2018 with 21,200 invitations to apply for permanent residence issued to candidates in Canada’s Express Entrysystem.
This is a 3,700 increase from 2018’s first quarter that ended at 17,500 invitations issued.
The year 2018 set an all-time record of 89,800 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) issued. This is the highest number of invitations issued for any one year since Express Entry was introduced in 2015. This year is expected to be an even bigger year based on Canada’s three-year immigration levels plan.
The plan outlines rising annual admission targets for the years ahead, culminating in 350,000 admissions in 2021.
The increasing admission targets for 2019 and 2020 could mean the total number of invitations issued in 2019 may exceed the ITA record set in 2018.
The Canadian government utilizes the Express Entry system to select permanent immigration candidates from a pool of potential candidates who are eligible under one of the Federal High Skilled economic immigration programs — the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program or the Canadian Experience Class.
Express Entry profiles are assessed on ‘core human capital’, skill-transferability and additional factors. Profiles are assigned what is officially called a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. This score, out a maximum of 1,200 points, determines a candidate’s rank in the Express Entry pool.
The Government of Canada regularly conducts draws from the pool of eligible candidates where the highest-ranked are invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
When comparing the total number of Express Entry ITAs issued in the initial quarter of 2018 and 2019, it is evident that the first quarter of this year beat last year in terms of ITAs issued.
However, in 2017, the federal government issued the most ITAs for a first quarter with a total 86,023 ITAs issued for the year. This number was eventually surpassed with 89,800 ITAs issued in 2018 and is expected be outperformed again this year.
So far this year, Express Entry draw sizes were set at 3,350 ITAs for four out of the six Express Entry draws with the exception of the first two draws when 3,900 ITAs were issued in both occasions.
The chart above illustrates the number of ITAs issued in the first quarter of each year versus Federal High Skilled economic immigration admissions targets. These targets represent the number of highly skilled foreign nationals admitted as Federal Skilled Workers, Federal Skilled Trades and Canadian Experience Class applicants.
It remains to be seen which parts of the year will be busiest, as the Government of Canada works toward meeting its Federal High Skilled economic admissions target of 81,400 for 2019 and 85,800 for 2020.
This first quarter ended with the minimum required CRS score dropping two points, to 452. This was a 5-point reduction from the highest point it reached during the first quarter.
Looking at recent draws, the time between draws can influence the minimum CRS requirement.
Less time between draw means less profiles are submitted into the Express Entry system. This could result in less high-scoring candidates entering the pool, which may have the effect of lowering the cut-off score at the time of a draw.
On two separate occasions —January 10 and February 20 — the time between draws was more than 20 days. In both events, the CRS threshold increased in comparison to the former draw. However, in the two most recent draws that occurred within the regular two-week interval, the CRS score decreased. This trend is captured in the chart below.