The Express Entry pool closed for 2018 at the end of December and it was a record year for the program. In 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) extended a total of 86,023 Invitations to Apply (ITA) for the Express Entry program. In 2018, this number was surpassed with a grand total of 89,800 ITAs issued! This not only broke the record for 2017, but 2018 saw the highest number of ITAs issued since the start of the Express Entry program in 2015.
In Fall of 2018, IRCC released an updated version of Canada’s Immigration Plan for 2019-2021. Within this plan, an admissions target was set through the three programs managed by the Express Entry System. These programs include the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). This target is set to increase in 2019 by 6,500 and will rise once more in 2020, by another 4,400.
Express Entry Predictions for 2019
In order to meet the admission targets for the programs managed by the Express Entry system, the number of ITAs issued will likely increase. In order to allow for this, IRCC may take one of two approaches:
Issue a higher number of ITAs per Express Entry Draw, or
Hold Express Entry Draws on a more frequent basis. In the past, IRCC has issued between 2,750 to 3,900 ITAs, roughly every two weeks. In 2019, they may issue the same number of ITAs, but hold three to four draws per month in order to meet their target.
It is difficult to determine which approach IRCC will employ. However, it is worth noting that the final Express Entry Draw of 2018 took place just one week following the second last Draw. In other words, IRCC experimented with drawing on a more frequent basis. Perhaps this is indicative of their plan for 2019.
Lower Cut-Off Scores
With an increase in the number of ITAs expected to be issued in 2019, there is also an increased likelihood that the CRS cut off score will drop. When the Express Entry program began in 2015, the cut-off score was relatively high, at approximately 500 points per round of ITAs issued. As the backlog of previous Express Entry applications are processed, and immigration targets increase, the CRS score needed to obtain ITA will likely drop. In looking at the final Express Entry Draw of 2018, this drop was already evident. The last draw featured a relatively low cut-off score of 439 points.
Are you interested in the Express Entry program? Check out some of our previous blogs about this program to learn more: