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On February 7, IRCC released the new Express Entry cut-off score, dropping to 442, compared to 444 in the previous draw. The score is based on the applicant’s skills, ties to Canada, marital and family status, and more. This drop is not surprising, as Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has had a tendency to lower the cut-off scores on the second and third Express Entry draft of the year since the creation of the program; Scores have been lowering since the implementation of the stream. Indeed, from the second draft of 2017 to the second draft of 2018, the cut-off score dropped 15 points.

This all-time low record for an early draft may signify that IRCC expects to lower the score even more than last year’s May 31 draw, which reached 413. It will be interesting to follow the trend of 2018, as the frequency of the draws could be an important factor in the reduction of cut-off scores. In general, as IRCC wishes to keep the number of Invitations To Apply (ITAs) at 2,750 in every draw, we expect that the more the draws, the lower the cut-off score will be.

This recent draw also reflects IRCC’s prospects for the Express Entry system. As it seems that IRCC is attempting to make the Express Entry system the most utilized stream for Canadian immigration applications, its decision to keep lowering the score seems logical: More foreign nationals will see a better chance to obtaining legal permanent status in Canada, and more will apply through that stream. In 2018, the permanent residence admissions target is 74,900, an increase of over 3000 people from last year’s Express Entry target. This goal is expected to be met, and even surpassed given the rise in applications, especially in view of the strict immigration manners taken by Canada’s neighbors to the south, the USA. Our CLG offices in the USA continue to see applications for Express Entry by foreign nationals now out of status in the USA.

For more information, contact Véronique Malka, Chair of the Canadian Law Group at CKR Law LLP, at vmalka@ckrlaw.com.

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