Changes to Canada’s Express Entry CRS Coming in June
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have announced that, as of June 6, 2017, French speakers and candidates with a sibling in Canada will receive additional points under the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). While these tweaks may not alter the make-up of the pool in a radical way, the additional points may make a positive difference to candidates who may obtain the new additional points.
In addition, registration in the Canada Job Bank will become voluntary.
The CRS in its current form will continue to be used in order to rank and select candidates in the pool, and it is expected that IRCC will continue to conduct draws from the pool until June 6, as well as after that date.
The most recent improvements to the CRS took place last November, when the number of CRS points awarded for a qualifying job offer was reduced from 600 to 50 or 200, depending on the position offered. At the same time, IRCC made a change to award additional points to candidates who had completed their education in Canada.
Before November 2016, the CRS had not been altered in any way since Express Entry first became operational in January 2015.
These changes taken together may be seen as part of the Government of Canada’s continued efforts to optimize the Express Entry system in order to invite more candidates with skills and experience that, according to Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, “will help our economy and communities to grow.”
So far in 2017, IRCC has ramped up the number of candidates being invited; the first three months of last year saw a total of 9,465 ITAs issued, whereas so far this year, a total of 24,652 ITAs have been issued, an increase of more than 160 percent.
Since the launch of Express Entry, Canada has welcomed more than 43,000 landed immigrants through the Express Entry system. Nearly 90,000 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residence have been issued in that time, with many applicants either awaiting a decision on their application or having received confirmation of permanent residence, but not having yet completed the process of landing in Canada.
The June 6 Changes
French language skills
In order to enter the Express Entry pool, eligible candidates must first prove proficiency in English or French by taking a standardized language test recognized by IRCC. Of the 1,200 points available in total under the CRS, 136 points may be awarded for a candidate’s first language, with a further 24 available for ability in a second language. Up to 100 more points are available for a candidate’s language skills within the combination (skills transferability) factors.
This will remain the case as of June 6. However, IRCC is tweaking the CRS to award additional points to candidates with French language skills, with more additional points to be awarded to French speakers who also prove their English skills.
A total of 15 additional points will be awarded to candidates who prove adequate intermediate (equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark 7) or better French ability, and English ability of CLB 4 or lower.
A total of 30 additional points will be awarded to French speaking candidates who prove adequate intermediate or better French ability, and who also prove English ability of CLB 5 or better.
Candidates who wish to be awarded CRS points for French ability must take the Test devaluation de Francais (TEF).
Currently, there are other ways in which candidates may benefit from their French ability. For example, the province of Ontario operates an Express Entry-aligned French Speaking Skilled Worker Stream within the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP). In the case of this stream, a CLB of 7 in French and a CLB of 6 in English is required.