With the year 2020 coming to an end, the next Express Entry is expected to reach a historic milestone for Canada’s immigration system. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Canada has been holding frequent Express Entry draws throughout 2020.
At the beginning of 2020, Canada had set a goal of issuing 91,800 invitations to apply this year. With COVID-19 impacting Canada’s immigration system, a change needed to be made in the IRCC’s plan.
One of the changes has been an increase in the number of ITAs issued during the coronavirus pandemic.
The reason for more ITAs is Canada is aiming to increase its immigration levels significantly after COVID-19 so it can support its economic recovery. In October, IRCC said it would target the arrival of over 400,000 new permanent residents each year under its new Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023.
In order to meet this target, the largest Express Entry draws in history are being held. For the first time, draw sizes have seen 5,000 ITAs being issued in each draw just within the past two weeks.
IRCC has now issued 97,350 ITAs in 2020. Given the sizes of recent draws, and there is still one more month left in 2020, there is a very high chance Canada will exceed 100,000 ITAs in a year for the first time ever.
Last week’s draw saw the minimum required Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score fall to 469, which was the first time in 2020 it fell below 470 points. The previous low was 472 CRS points for an all-program draw which took place on November 18.
It is impossible to predict CRS cut-off scores but the recent decrease suggests that IRCC needs to decrease its CRS requirements slightly to achieve its immigration targets.
Express Entry draws used to happen on a bi-weekly basis prior to the pandemic on Wednesday. Since the pandemic, draws have also tended to occur on Wednesday but there has been more variability as IRCC grapples with the impacts of COVID-19. There have been occasions in 2020 where two Express Entry draws have occurred in the same week, and recently, draws have occurred in consecutive weeks. On the balance of probabilities, there will be at least two more Express Entry draws in 2020.