As only express entry candidates with provincial nominations were invited, the minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score was 778 points. This score may look like it's very high. But, 600 CRS points are automatically added to the profile of the candidate with a provincial nomination. In other words, the lowest-scoring candidates would have had 178 CRS points without the nomination.
Applicants with a minimum score of 778 were only included if they had submitted their Express Entry profile by March 16, 2021, at 16:09:32 UTC, by the tie-break rule. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) publish the tie-breaker cutoff time as an administrative requirement, whether or not there is a tie.
Canada's border is still closed to non-essential international travel, but at the same time, the government still has to welcome large numbers of new permanent residents. Indeed, the current government, led by the Liberal Party, has set itself an ambitious goal of welcoming 401,000 new immigrants by 2021, most of them through programs managed by Express Entry.
To achieve these goals despite travel restrictions, IRCC has held program-specific draws that target applicants who are likely already in the country.
When the border was first closed in March 2020, Canada alternated between holding PNP-specific draws and invitation rounds that only invited candidates who were likely to qualify for the category of the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). IRCC followed this pattern until the end of the year when it resumed holding draws for all programs, which do not distinguish applicants from a particular program.
As of the new year, IRCC has resumed holding specific draws for PNP and CEC. On February 13, the ministry invited every candidate eligible for the CEC to apply for permanent residence.
As a result of this large circulation, the number of ITAs issued this year has significantly exceeded last year's levels. So far, in 2021, Canada has sent 44,124 invitations to Express Entry applicants. As of that date last year, that number was 22,600.
The CRS requirement in recent draws has increased and decreased, depending on the type of draw. PNP-specific Express Entry draws will always have a score requirement greater than 600, but CEC draw scores depend on the number of applicants IRCC invites to a given draw. The CRS requirement decreases for CEC draws because it is based on the number of eligible applicants in the pool, as well as the number of invitations issued by IRCC. Since there are no Foreign Skilled Worker Program applicants competing for CEC draw invitations, there is more space for lower-rated applicants.
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