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We are not half-way through the first year of the implementation of a revolutionary selection system initiated by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.  In sum, the Express Entry system revolves around an online application within the several federal programs for foreign workers, with the ultimate goal of strongly facilitating nominee selection of permanent visas for foreign workers. Many are asking: Is the new system working for immigrants?  

Here are some very quick facts about the Express Entry system:

  • It began on January 1st 2015
  • Canadian employers recruit people through a job database known as the Job Bank
  • The application is processed in less than six months
  • The requirements and criteria for an eligible applicant are determined by provinces and territories
  • The application is 100% online

 The Cake Analogy

The Canadian Law Group’s managing lawyer, Véronique Malka, has “cooked up” a very useful analogy for the EE system.  She compares the draw system to the layers of a cake (this is overly simplistic, but in our mind it captures the underlying philosophy of the program).  A cake has three parts: The spongy part, which comprises about 80% of the cake; the icing on the cake (about 15%) and the cherries on top (5%). Who are the foreign nationals in this cake analogy?

The sponge part: all foreign nationals outside of Canada who seek to apply for PR without an approved job offer, i.e. based on their education and professional credentials (score);

The Icing: foreign nationals outside of Canada who have a profession in demand and have a sponsor (or pre-approved job offer);

The cherries: Foreign nationals inside Canada on valid temporary status (student, worker, etc.) with an approved job offer.

When CIC draws from the pool of candidates, it first tries to select the “cherries.”  When those numbers decline (as they will since this the smallest group available), then CIC will start drawing from the next preferred class, the “icing”.  And of course, as those numbers decline also, then CIC will turn to the “sponge” and start picking from there.   Who will be picked in the sponge?  In our estimation, that is when CIC will look at the highest scores and thus, language scores are most important.

This analogy may explain why CIC has progressively been selecting lower scores as the year has unfolded.  At least, that’s what we make of it.  Let’s take a look at the selections made so far this year:

  • A majority of candidates selected in the sixth (March 27), eighth (April 17) and eleventh (June 27) draws had neither a qualifying job offer nor a provincial nomination certificate.
  • Through the first 11 draws, 29.4% of people that were invited to apply lacked a qualifying job offer or enhanced provincial nomination certificate
  • 5.4% had an enhanced provincial nomination certificate.
  • 41% of those invited to apply did not have a qualifying job offer or an enhanced provincial nomination certificate.
  • 5,534 of the overall 12,928 invitations to apply issued had been to candidates under the Canadian Experience Class, with Federal Skilled Workers, Federal Skilled Trades and Provincial Nominees following.
  • Though the Provincial Nominee Programs have provided the fewest invitees so far, the number of candidates being invited to apply having obtained an enhanced provincial nomination certificate has increased over the most recent draws.

Prior to the fourth draw, people with scores under 600 were not allowed to apply, but with the fifth draw, standards for eligible candidates were quickly lowered, and people with relatively low scores were able to receive visas. However, since the draw of June 12th, the average CRS points required started to stabilize itself, in a slow but consistent descending pace.

Moreover, CIC announced in its mid-year report that they will be increasing the pool of number of invitations to apply. They also revealed that, with the program working so well, the Express Entry could become their main immigration program. The people who were still in the application pool were delighted to hear the news, as it was easy for them to notice that the immigration requirements in the program lowered drastically since January. With this great news, eligible immigrants are rejoicing their choice of wanting to become Canadian residents, and are definitely ready to consider the second half of 2015 as their moment to apply.

Copyright – Canadian Law Group – August 2015

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