Invited applicants had to be eligible for the Canadian Experience Category (CEC) and have a score of at least 432 to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), which is 17 points lower than the previous CEC-only draw.
Applicants who achieved the minimum score of 432 were only invited if they had submitted their Express Entry by February 16, 2021, at 09:51:22 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.
Travel restrictions are still in place in Canada for non-essential international travel, but at the same time, the government still has to welcome large numbers of new permanent residents. The current government has set itself an ambitious goal of welcoming 401,000 new immigrants by 2021, with economy class immigrants arriving mainly through programs managed by Express Entry.
To target the admission goal for skilled immigrants, IRCC is targeting applicants who are likely to be in the country through program-specific express entry draws. CEC applicants must have at least one year of full-time work experience in a skilled occupation, so, likely, they are already in Canada when they submit their Express Entry profile. IRCC previously reported that approximately 90% of CEC applicants are in Canada.
When travel restrictions were placed in March 2020, Canada alternated between program-specific draws for CEC candidates and Express entry applicants with provincial nominations. 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.
IRCC has resumed holding program-specific express entry draws for CEC and PNP candidates since the turn of the new year. Feb 13, sees a historic draw, where every single CEC candidate was invited to apply for a PR Visa.
The previous Express Entry draws on March 31 were for Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates. PNP applicants only have demonstrated to the province that nominated them that they have the skills to support the regional labor market.
Invited applicants have a higher CRS score as they automatically get a 600 CRS score because of their PNP certificate.
Earlier this year, IRCC invited every eligible candidate to the CEC from the Express Entry pool on February 13, for a total of 27,332 immigrant applicants. As a result of this record-breaking lot, the number of ITAs issued in 2021 is already 49,124, almost half of its target of new Express Entry applicants to be admitted in 2021. Around the same time last year, IRCC had issued 22,600.
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