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Ask Tito Mike by Michael Scott  

Invitations to apply under Express Entry

exceed 100,000 for 2020

by Michael Scott

The Express Entry is an online system to facilitate the entry of foreign skilled workers to Canada. It was introduced in 2015 and has grown through the years to become the primary way skilled worker applications are processed. One measure of the effectiveness of this recruitment tool has been the dramatic increase in the number of invitations to apply issued in the current operational year.

The recent December 23, 2020 draw’s Comprehensive Rating System (CRS) score was 468 and this brought to a conclusion a record high number 107,350 ITAs for the operational year. This is the first time ETAs exceeded 100,000. There were 31,063 issued in 2015, 38,782 in 2016, 86,023 in 2017, 89,800 in 2018, 85,300 in 2019 and 107,350 in 2020. The Express Entry, which has incorporated parts of the provincial nominee programs, has become a very effective way for skilled foreign worker applicants to immigrate to Canada.

Even in 2020, with the challenges of the pandemic, IRCC has taken steps to facilitate immigration processes for most of its programs and to ensure the continued selection of skilled workers for permanent residence. The Express Entry application management system still has three federal economic class programs: Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and the Canada Experience Class (CEC). These three programs, as well as the various provincial nominee programs, invite applicants who have submitted online Expressions of Interest (EOI) on the basis of assessment points awarded for capital factors such as age, education, work experience and demonstrated English or French language ability. Those with the highest scoring or rating (Comparative Rating System for Express Entry) are then invited to Canada for permanent residence.

The December 23, 2020 draw is the lowest CRS cut off score recorded since the September 15, 2020 draw.

CRS cut off scores of the last eight draws, with two-week intervals

  • 472 on Sept. 16, 2020
  • 471 on Sept. 30, 2020
  • 471 on Oct. 14, 2020
  • 478 on Nov. 2020
  • 472 on Nov. 18, 2020
  • 469 on Nov. 25, 2020
  • 469 on Dec. 9, 2020
  • 468 on Dec. 23, 2020

The recent draw is the lowest CRS score but by a small margin. The consistently high CRS scores show Canada’s commitment to attracting the best foreign applicants but also the popularity of Canada as a choice destination for foreign trained candidates. Canada is able to maintain a high minimum standard because it has a surplus of skilled worker applicants who have submitted their EOIs online. If Canada remains your choice destination then you and your family or friends must ensure that you qualify, either through a direct EOI submission to Express Entry, or indirectly through one of the provincial nominee programs, such as Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, who have held Express Entry linked draws over the past four weeks. Express Entry candidates who receive a provincial nomination are awarded an additional 600 points and move to the front of the line for an Invitation to Apply.

The old year is ending and New Year rises ahead of us. If you and yours are skilled workers (especially in O, A or B occupational demand jobs), Express Entry may be the place to apply. You should be aware of the provincial nomination route in your province of destination but Express Entry continues to be the main way for skilled immigrants to enter Canada. The COVID pandemic has plagued the health systems around the world but it has also presented an opportunity for potential applicants because countries such as Canada are positioning themselves economically by having a skilled labour force. Potential applicants should be aware of the opportunities available through Express Entry. There is a good chance that Canada will need around 100,000 ITAs for 2021.

Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail:

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