December 29, 2018 – It was another record-breaking year for the federal Express Entry system, with the important milestone of the 100thdraw taking place in September.
The record of 86,023 set in 2017 was eclipsed in the final draw of the year, coming on December 19.
In reality, the new record came as no surprise given the increasing Federal High Skilled immigration levels targets set by the IRCC.
Federal High Skilled Immigration Targets
The levels target for 2018 was 74,900, increasing to 81,400 in 2019, with a plan to reach 88,800 newcomers in the category by 2021.
ITA numbers are likely to increase even further in 2019, as the IRCC continues to gather data on how the number of invites relates to successful immigration candidates.
Individual Draw ITA Record Stands
Although the overall annual ITA record was broken in 2018, the record for the most invites in an individual draw stands at 3,923 set on April 13, 2017.
However, IRCC conducted eight draws issuing 3,900 ITAs in 2018, which is the second-highest all-time figure for an individual draw.
Immigration authorities conducted three fewer draws in 2018 compared to 2017 (27 versus 30), but still managed to break the annual total record.
This shows that although the individual draw record stand, the average draw size was significantly larger in 2018.
IRCC’s new tie-breaking rule based on date of Express Entry profile submission came into its own in 2018, resulting in a more uniform set of ITA figures.
Given increased immigration levels targets, we may see the 4,000-barrier broken in 2019. But if draws remain consistent at 3,900, IRCC is still likely to reach a sufficient number of invites.
Consistently Low Minimum CRS Scores
Meanwhile, minimum Comprehensive Ranking System scores followed a similar pattern to individual draw ITA numbers.
Although CRS scores were consistently low, the record of 413 set in May 2017 was far from being broken.
The lowest CRS score of 2018 was 439, set in the final draw of the year on December 19.
The important takeaway form this is that the base standard of profiles in the Express Entry Pool is improving, as candidates and representatives discover the best ways to maximize scores.
Consistency is also crucial when it comes to CRS scores, with 2018 featuring 15 draws out of 27 with the minimum score in a 3-point range of 439 to 442 points.
Provincial Express Entry Streams
In 2018, we also saw the provinces using the Express Entry system in more creative ways.
Ontario targeted French-speaking and skilled trades candidates, Nova Scotia targeted labour market priorities, while B.C. focused on technology workers.
The of Alberta and Prince Edward Island began tapping the Express Entry pool for the first time.
Given the system remains quite young, only launched in 2015, the provinces are still learning how they can manipulate it to their advantage, in terms of attracting the newcomers to meet specific needs with reduced processing times.
For candidates with lower CRS score, targeting a provincial nomination represents a great way to get a coveted ITA.
Through Alberta’s Express Entry stream, for example, candidates with scores as low as 301 received nominations, worth an extra 600 points in the federal system.
Express Entry In 2019
As Federal High Skilled immigration levels increase, so must Express Entry draw sizes, but it remains to be seen how IRCC will achieve this in 2019.
In 2018, we saw the size of monthly draws increase gradually throughout the year, from 2,750 in January up to 3,900 by the end of the year.
It is unlikely 2019 will see such a dramatic increase between the start and end of the year. Instead, as the system matures, more consistent draw sizes and CRS scores are likely to feature.
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