Canada’s Express Entry system experienced a real big time in 2018, and the coming year could be more exceptional.
Express Entry, which manages the pool of candidates for Canada’s 3 Federal High Skilled immigration programs, issued 89,800 invitations to apply for Canadian permanent residence in 2018. This is the highest number of invitations issued in a single year since the introduction of Express Entry in January 2015.
A record of 86,023 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) was set in 2017, which is surpassed by 89,800 Invitation to Apply (ITAS) issued in 2018. It seems like 2018’s record will be surpassed once again by the end of the year 2019.
Under Canada’s multi-year immigration level plans, the admission target through the 3 programs managed by the Express Entry system – the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) – is set to increase in 2019 by 6,500. It will rise again in 2020, by another 4,400.
In order to meet the increased admission targets for the FSWC, CEC, and FSTC, the number of ITAs issued will also rise.
2019: Bigger or more draws?
If Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is likely to issue more number of ITAs in 2019, draw sizes will need to expand, or IRCC will have to hold more draws more frequently than the current interval between draws, which is typically every 2 weeks.
Over the past 12 months, IRCC established a pattern of increasing draw sizes which began at 2,750 ITAs at the start of 2018 and were then increased by increments of 250 or 500 ITAs every 2 to 3 months to a peak size of 3,900 ITAs. This size then remained stable between September 5 and the last draw of 2018 on December 18.
The fact that 2 draws of 3,900 ITAs were held within a week of each other meant the Express Entry pool of Candidates had less time to replenish, forcing the minimum score down.
In order to meet its increased admissions target for 2019 and 2020, IRCC may hold draws less than 2 weeks apart on a more regular basis in the new year.
PNP growth: 2018 and 2019
Among other key Express Entry developments in 2018 was the rising number of candidates with a provincial nomination.
Nine Canadian provinces and two territories participated in Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) which they used to nominate a set number of economic immigrants for Canadian permanent residence each year. Some of these allocations assigned for enhanced provincial programs that nominate candidates through the Express Entry system.
An enhanced provincial nomination is the single most valuable factor within Express Entry’s CRS and results in an Express Entry candidate receiving an additional 600 points towards their overall Express Entry ranking score – effectively guaranteeing an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
As per IRCC, 12 per cent of the 62,500 Express Entry ITAs issued during the first eight months of 2018 went to candidates with a provincial nomination. During the same period in 2017, just over none per cent of all ITAs issued went to provincial nominees and the end-of-year total in 2017 was 10 per cent.
Like Express Entry, Canada’s PNP also saw an increase in its admissions target in 2017 and 2018 with a further increase of 6,000 admissions projected in 2019.
The PNP target will raise again i9n 2020 and 2021, when admissions through Canada’s PNP are expected to reach 71,300 – an increase of nearly 30 per cent over 2018’s target of 55,000.