New Information for Express Entry Candidates
Express Entry Candidates Eligible for Multiple Programs
IRCC Ranking System
It has been officially announced by the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC) that it is changing the hierarchy system (in regards to the immigration programs managed through the Express Entry selection system).
For the next Express Entry pool draw, applicants under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) who hold a sufficient number of points in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) will be given an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency.
Canada’s CEC program was created for those with work experience in Canada and who wish to live there permanently. Prior to these recent changes, applicants that received an Invitation to Apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Class ran the risk of experiencing unforeseen problems with meeting the settlement funds required and/or attaining an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA); which is required under the Federal Skilled Worker program but not under the Canadian Experience program.
Changes in the hierarchy were due to a conference between representatives from IRCC and the Canadian Bar Association held on February 24, 2016.
Why does this change matter?
Since the introduction of the program hierarchy system last year, in order to balance application levels under the federal immigration programs submitted through Express Entry, the FSWC has been prioritized above the two other programs. In the event that a candidate was eligible under the FSWC and another program (i.e. either CEC or FST), his or her ITA would be issued under the FSWC. The only historical exception to this was a program-specific round of invitations that occurred in February, 2015, in which only candidates eligible under the CEC were issued an ITA.
An ITA issued under the CEC and an ITA issued under the FSWC are not the same. The main difference between the two is that, under the CEC, the applicant is not required to demonstrate settlement funds.
On the other hand, under the FSWC, the Canada Immigration Officer assessing an application must be satisfied that the applicant has enough funds for settlement in Canada. These funds — which range from CAN $12,164 for a single applicant to CAN $32,191 for a family with seven or more members — must be transferable and net of debts or other obligations. The requirement for settlement funds is waived if the applicant has Arranged Employment in Canada.
Because of this differentiating factor, candidates who are eligible under both CEC and FSW — particularly those who may struggle to maintain sufficient settlement funds in their account(s) — would typically prefer to submit their application through CEC.
In its summary of the meeting with IRCC representatives, the CBA Chair noted that CEC applications are ‘both easier for them to process and easier for our clients’, adding that ‘this is a positive outcome resulting from our previous consultations of May and November 2015.’
February 24 Draw
While the IRCC and CBA representatives were busy discussing these matters on the morning of February 24, a total of 1,484 candidates for immigration to Canada through Express Entry received the good news that they had been issued an ITA in the 28th Express Entry draw, the fifth to take place in the first two months of 2016.
This draw also marked the second time this year that the CRS point requirement has been as low as 453. While there was a marginal decrease in the CRS point requirement, relative to the previous (27th) draw, candidates should be mindful that it is expected that the minimum score for Express Entry draws may drop even further as the year progresses and additional draws occur, as per comments made by IRCC towards the end of 2015.
Each draw for the past nine months has selected a portion of candidates who do not have a qualifying job offer in Canada or a nomination from a Canadian province.