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Canadian Express Entry

Canada invites 671 PNP candidates in March 8 Express Entry draw

The March 8 Express Entry draw issued Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to 671 candidates who had a minimum score of 739. The draw targeted only candidates who have provincial nominations. It was the fourth draw aimed exclusively at PNP candidates since August 19, 2020. The draw’s CRS score was 19 points higher than that of the previous PNP-specific round of invitations held on February 10, 2021. The draw marks a return to normality after the record-breaking draw on February 13, which saw 27,332 ITAs issued and a minimum CRS of 75.

Canada has now issued 38,657 ITAs through seven draws in 2021. This is more than three times higher than the number of ITAs issued at the same time last year. 

Canada is committed to a new plan to increase immigration to more than 400,000 newcomers a year in 2021 and up to 1.2 million by 2023. Canada believes that immigration will spur economic recovery after the coronavirus crisis.

The Express Entry immigration selection system

In order to enter the federal Express Entry pool, candidates must first create an Express Entry profile. You must meet the eligibility requirements for one of the three programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Class; the Federal Skilled Trades Class; and the Canadian Experience Class. A job offer is not required to enter or be selected from the Express Entry pool although additional CRS points are awarded to those who already have a job.

When the coronavirus crisis began in Canada in March 2020, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) switched its Express Entry draws exclusively to Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates, because these candidates were more likely to already be in the country. 

Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) which is the target of the March 8 Express Entry draw, are very popular among candidates applying to immigrate to Canada.  The PNPs are the second main way Canada welcomes skilled worker immigrants. Under the PNPs, Canada’s provincial and territorial governments are able to nominate individuals to reside in the province/territory as permanent residents in order to meet their labor force and economic needs. An applicant must apply for and receive a Provincial Nomination Certificate (PNC) from the provincial government where they intend to ultimately settle.

Candidates who have created a profile in the federal Express Entry system AND have also applied for and received a PNC, are awarded an additional 600 points toward their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score at the federal level, on top of the points that they have in the federal Express Entry pool. The additional 600 CRS points virtually guarantee that the candidate will receive an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

The March 8 Express Entry draw’s cut-off score of 739 means that candidates only needed to obtain 139 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points for their human capital characteristics. The other 600 points they obtained were by securing a provincial nomination certificate (PNC).

Canada’s Express Entry immigration system is competitive. Only a limited number of candidates with the highest CRS points in the pool are issued Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residence through regular draws which typically take place every two weeks. A candidate’s CRS score is based on factors such as age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French.

March 8 Express Entry

Based on your personal information you will be given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. Your CRS is a numerical value, out of a possible 1,200, determined by your core human capital. This is essentially your age, work experience, educational background, ability to adapt and language skills.

The CRS points may be awarded to an individual or a couple. Candidates do not need to have any experience in Canada in order to be invited to apply for permanent residence. They do not need a job offer, but a job offer may give them some extra points.

Once your profile has been completed and your CRS has been calculated, you will be placed into a pool of candidates ranked by their CRS score. Find out if you are potentially eligible to enter the Express Entry pool. The Canadian federal government and the provincial and territorial governments regularly draws candidates from this pool to issue ITAs based on particular needs and shortages in the country or provinces.

Candidates with the highest CRS scores get issued ITAs first. So once your CRS score meets the minimum cut-off point for a particular draw you will be issued an ITA.  If you receive an ITA, you can go ahead and submit a permanent residence application to IRCC.

Improve your CRS score

It is advised that you continue to improve your CRS scoring in a number of ways.  See Tips for Improving Express Entry CRS Scores. Before the pandemic, a candidate typically needed a CRS of around 470 points in a regular all-program draw to receive a permanent residence invitation. This usually requires candidates to have several years of post-secondary and perhaps multiple educational credentials, several years of work experience, and a strong English and/or French language proficiency. It is therefore best to continue improving your CRS score to the highest possible.

Top questions about Express Entry profiles

See all questions about Express Entry draws