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Posted on January 19, 2023

5,500 invitations were issued to candidates by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) with a cut-off score of 490. Eligible candidates were invited from all three streams namely Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP), Federal Skills Trades Program (FSTP), and Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

This surprise draw was held on 18th January, 2023 marking Express Entry in 2 consecutive weeks. The previous draw was held on 11th January, 2023 through which 5,500 candidates were invited on Wednesday.

CRS Cut-Off Scores for 2 Consecutive Weeks

Date No. of candidates invited Cut-off scores
11/1/2023 5,500 507
18/1/2023 5,500 490


Cut-off scores have dropped 17 points between 2 draws. The score of the latest draw was also 507 as initially reported by IRCC but it has been updated again to the correct score of 490. Since the November 23, 2022 draw, last week’s draw marked the first. Express Entry draws tend to occur usually on Wednesday, approximately every two weeks.

There was no explanation provided by IRCC about why draws were paused over this period. Nonetheless, IRCC’s desire to land more immigrants in Canada this year was indicated by the fact that draws have taken place in successive weeks of the first month of 2023. A total of 11,000 ITAs are already issued to candidates at the beginning of this year, marking the fastest start to the Express Entry since its formation in 2015.

The previous record of 10,000 ITAs in the year 2021 is overshadowed by this current record of Express Entry. Permanent residence is provided in just 6 months as per the service standard of Express Entry which is the fastest service standard among all of Canada’s over 100 different skilled immigration pathways. It seems like an eventful year for IRCC’s main skilled immigration pathway with such a fast start to the year for Express Entry.

Categories for targeted Express Entry draws developed by IRCC

IRCC has been working to create new draw categories for candidates in Express Entry programs since Bill C-19 received royal assent last June which is a major deviation from the recent method of inviting candidates based solely on a high score within the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

IRCC completed a round of consultations with the stakeholders and public to better understand Canada’s most acute shortage of skilled workers in its most recent step. All candidates must be eligible to apply under the existing Express Entry application management system regardless of the category. Categories will be announced before invitations are issued, once decided on by the Minister.

Possible categories for targeted draws

The categories will be based on candidates’ attributes such as their work experience, occupation, language abilities, and education. This will support Canada’s economic priorities by inviting candidates who are better placed to fill urgent gaps in Canada’s labour force as stated by the Immigration Minister. Express Entry candidates who have work experience relevant to an in-demand sector of the workforce may be targeted by these draws.

There is a possibility that International students in Canada will become permanent residents through Express Entry with the help of categories created by IRCC, particularly if the student has obtained a diploma or degree for an in-demand field from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

Those who have previous Canadian work experience have been found to integrate better with Labour market and are well-equipped to transfer their skills when needed, this is the reason for which Temporary Residents are also being considered as a category. As the government seeks to deliver on its mandate to strengthen Canada’s bilingual character, skilled French-speaking immigrants may also have an advantage in receiving an ITA.

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