Citizenship and Immigration Canada System Trending towards Greater Opportunities
A little over a year ago, Citizenship and Immigration Canada introduced a new Express Entry system for fast-tracking the permanent residency applications of skilled immigrants using a points system to measure candidacy. While not a new immigration program in and of itself, it was instead a new method of applying to three existing programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, and Canadian Experience Class Program. On January 31st, 2015, 779 Express Entry candidates were issued an invitation to apply for permanent residency in the first draw. Each candidate invited had a score of 886 points or more (out of a possible 1,200 based on the existence of an LMIA-approved job offer and other employability criteria) and went on to submit an electronic application that would be processed in six months or less. In fact, some applicants had their applications processed in as little as three months.
For those unsure of if they are eligible for the program, a permanent resident lawyer can assist them with the process from start to finish to ensure that they meet the criteria as best as possible. However, as time goes on, the program has seen more applicants invited to apply, and the minimum score in the draw decreased. The decreased scores could be a result of simply casting a wider net, it could also stem from an acknowledgement of the difficulty in achieving certain criteria from outside of Canada regardless of potential eligibility. Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Comprehensive Ranking System awards 600 points to any candidate with either an existing LMIA-approved job offer, or a provincial nomination, both of which may be difficult to obtain from overseas, and may at first have been a significant barrier to being invited.
However, as a permanent resident lawyer may note, the latest figures from Express Entry suggest that there are more opportunities for new Canadians to thrive. By the time of the fifth draw, on March 20th of last year, the number of applicants invited had increased to an impressive 1,620, with the lowest score being 481—well below the 600-point level previously thought to be the benchmark for candidacy. While both numbers have fluctuated since, the first draw of 2016—24th over all—saw 1,463 people invited to apply, with a minimum score of 461. This marks the fifteenth consecutive draw with a minimum score lower than 600 points, and the sixteenth consecutive draw with over 1,000 invitations issued. While there is clearly still a need for employable skills and other criteria to be met, it appears that Citizenship and Immigration Canada is recognizing the need to making it easier for immigrants to gain residency, perhaps keeping in mind the positive economic impact that increased immigration of skilled individuals has on communities.
If you are interested in becoming a permanent resident in Canada through one of its economic immigration programs, speak to a permanent resident lawyer to discuss your candidacy for Express Entry.