The First Express Entry draw of April was held by IRCC in which a total of 3,500 invitations were issued. It was an all-program draw in which the minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score was 486.
Candidates are considered from the Federal Worker Skilled Program (FSWP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) in an all-program draw. 7,000 Candidates Were Invited in the three consecutive Express Entry draws those which occurred earlier than this draw. The lowest CRS cut-off score since December 2020, i.e., 481 was also seen by the most recent draw held on March 29.
In comparison to the whole of 2022, most ITAs have already been issued in 2023. The most ambitious Immigration Levels Plan by IRCC to date has been introduced last November. Immigration targets for permanent residents across all lines of business over three years were outlined by the plan. 82,880 candidates will obtain the status of permanent residents this year through Express Entry, and the target of 114,000 is set by the year 2025.
Unprecedented Month for Express Entry
In the history of Express Entry, March can be considered as an unprecedented month. 21,667 ITAs were issued by IRCC over four draws. Since Express Entry was launched in January 2015, this was the second-highest monthly total. 27,332 candidates were invited by IRCC in a single draw targeting Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates, it was a record for most candidates invited in one month, which was set in February 2021.
Three of the second-largest Express Entry draws to ever occur were followed by this draw. The first of these consecutive draws was on 15 March when 7,000 candidates were invited with a CRS cut-off score of 490. Express Entry draws typically occur every two weeks on Wednesdays but the next draw took place just a week later on March 23. Eighth Express Entry Draw of 2023 Invited 7000 Candidates with a cut off score of 484 which was even lower.
On March 29, another 7,000 candidates were invited in the next draw which adds up to 21,000 candidates invited in 3 consecutive weeks. On March 1, the remaining 667 candidates were invited in a draw targeting only Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates.
As of April 6, PGWP Extension is Available
In the CEC, the large all-program draws may be beneficial for candidates, many of whom have been voicing growing concerns as their Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) are about to expire in a very short period.
It was recently announced by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser that PGWP holders are eligible to apply for an 18-month open work permit extension. It has been made effective since April 6 to assist PGWP holders.
For international students who graduate from a post-secondary institution in Canada, PGWPs are a one-time open work permit. A candidate is no longer eligible to apply for permanent residence if his/her PGWP expires before they receive an ITA. Finding an alternative work permit or obtaining a visitor card can be expensive and time-consuming.
Few CEC candidates received ITAs between November 2022 and February 2023 due to a 6-week unplanned draw pause followed by 4 program-specific draws that did not target CEC candidates.