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Mid-year report of 2020

2020 has been an extraordinary period, unlike any other period in the history of Express Entry. Canada saw both the most significant and smallest Express Entry draws ever due to the ongoing coronavirus.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held the largest Express Entry draw ever on February 19 and invited 4,900 candidates in a single draw.

After a week, on March 12, the new immigration minister of Canada, Marco Mendicino, said that Canada would welcome more than a million immigrants by 2022, many of whom would be arriving with the aid of Express Entry.

However, March 18 would change several things for hopeful Canadian immigration aspirants. Coronavirus was becoming a more significant threat within Canada, so the federal government closed the border to most international travel. 

More Express Entry draws during the pandemic.

It was easily established that Canada would continue to hold Express Entry draws, and Minister Mendicino said that immigration would be essential for the economic recovery of the country.

Express Entry draws changed significantly in the past few months. The all-in-one draws, which included candidates from the economic class immigration programs like Foreign Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), were no longer held with the previous frequency. But, two draws would be held within days or hours of each other. One would target the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates, and the other would only invite people from the CEC program. These draw pairings took place roughly every two weeks.

As a result, 21 draws are held, including the Express Entry draw on June 25. In 2019, 12 draws were held in the same time span.

But, more Invitations to Apply (ITAs) have been issued this year compared to last year. This year 49,900 ITAs have been given in the first months of 2020, whereas in 2019, 41,800 ITAs were issued by point of the mid-year.

Number of ITAs issued by half year


Differences in PNP and CEC draws.

PNP would be smaller than CEC draws, and also they would have higher CRS score requirements than the CEC.

This is because nomination from a province automatically gives candidates an extra 600 points. The least CRS requirement of a PNP draw this year was 692, in a draw held on April 29. Without nomination, recipients only required a human capital score of a mere 92 in addition to the requirements of the PNP that awarded the nomination.

The smallest Express Entry draw held was a PNP draw that issued 118 ITAs on April 15. It also had the most substantial CRS cutoff of the year at 808. This is still not the most significant CRS requirement of all time, which was 886 in the first Express Entry draw held on January 31, 2015.

CEC candidates must have at the very least one year of skilled work experience inside Canada, meet the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) that is demanded in their field, and live outside of Quebec.

Express Entry draws that targeted particularly CEC candidates this year were comparatively bigger and had smaller CRS score requirements.

FSWP and FSTP candidates were not selected unless they had a provincial nomination. IRCC said they prioritize programs like CEC and PNP for the number of candidates presently in Canada.

IRCC has not clarified when FSWP and FSTP candidates will again be included in the draws of Express Entry.

Nevertheless, Express Entry candidates currently residing outside of Canada who do not have Canadian work experience or a job offer are still getting ITAs through Express Entry-linked PNP draws.

CRS Cut off Score and time between draws


Express Entry-linked PNP draws.

Alberta 11 Alberta Express Entry Stream draws so far this year that at least six of them were held after the March 18 travel restrictions came into effect. Candidates invited on the dates after that had to be in Canada at the time they were given the nomination, as part of Alberta’s temporary measures taken due to coronavirus.

B.C. continues to hold draws every week, though some draws were affected adversely by closures of some businesses resulting in certain occupations being left out of ongoing draws. Candidates were invited from both the Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC categories.

Manitoba started 2020 with the first PNP draw held on January 2. Manitoba held 12 draws so far in 2020, with seven of them taking place during the travel restrictions. Several Express Entry candidates were issued invitations in each draw.

Nova Scotia has held two draws pertaining to Labour Market Priorities. The first one invited Express Entry candidates who could demonstrate French and English proficiency, among other eligibility criteria. The second round of invitation was held for candidates who had experience in the nursing profession.

Ontario held eight draws and invited Express Entry candidates, most of them in the period of travel restrictions. There were also two draws in the Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream, and two Tech draws. Invitation rounds for candidates who could be eligible for the French-Speaking Skilled Worker and Express Entry Skilled Trades streams were held within one day of each other on two occasions.

Prince Edward Island usually follows a planned schedule for its PNP draws. But, due to coronavirus, draws were re-scheduled in March, April, May, and June. The draws they have held so far targeted the Express Entry candidates who worked in necessary services such as healthcare and trucking.

Saskatchewan held five Express Entry-linked draws in 2020. The province allows some flexibility for nominees and applicants who are unable to submit completed applications, or whose circumstances had changed due to coronavirus.

Express Entry in the next half of 2020

A lot will be decided before the end of the month, as the current travel ban restrictions are in practice until the end of June. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is due to announce immigration plans in the coming days.

In a new T.V. interview, minister Mendicino said that Canada would continue to rely on Express Entry and other streams to invite global talent from all across the world.