Canada Express Entry Report up to May this year

Canada Express Entry Report up to May this year

Canada Express Entry Report up to May this year

Canada Express Entry Report up to May this year

The majority of Express Entry candidates who were issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence in 2016 had a core Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score below 450 — the lowest cut-off threshold of any draw over the first two years of Express Entry — and more than one quarter of all invited candidates had a core CRS score below 350. Core CRS indicates a candidate’s score without the additional points for a provincial nomination, a job offer, or education obtained in Canada.

This insight is one of many contained in a year-end Express Entry report for 2016, which was provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) last week. In addition to providing valuable data, the report also reveals in detail the rationale behind the department’s decisions since Express Entry was first introduced in January, 2015.

Twenty-eight months after first being launched, Express Entry has more momentum than ever before, with 2017 having been a standout year so far in terms of the number of ITAs issued. This has had a significant effect on the decrease in CRS cut-off thresholds over recent months.

Through the report, we learned the following:

The majority of invited candidates in 2016 had a core CRS score below 450, the lowest cut-off threshold of any draw over the first two years. Of the 33,782 total invited candidates last year, 18,778 had a core CRS score below 450.

41,466 applications for permanent residence were received in 2015 and 2016. When also counting accompanying family members, this figure swells to 78,015, meaning that each application represents around 1.9 people.

183,009 eligible profiles were created over the first two years, meaning that around 23 percent of profiles resulted in a submitted application for permanent residence. Moreover, the current year has seen a significant increase in invitations issued, so this percentage is likely to increase through 2017.

When the snapshot of the pool was taken on January 3, 2017, candidates who had an outstanding ITA, but who had not yet submitted an application for permanent residence, accounted for three percent of all eligible profiles ever created. Consequently, taken with the point above, more than one-in-four profiles resulted in an ITA having been issued.

Nearly half (170,221, or 48 percent) of all attempted profile submissions were ineligible. This is because potential applicants must be eligible under one of the federal economic immigration programs (Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades, or Canadian Experience Class) before entering the pool.

IRCC continues to meet its six-month processing time target in the vast majority of cases.

At the time of writing, the most recent CRS cut-off threshold of any draw that has taken place is 415, which is also the lowest threshold ever.

When the snapshot of the pool covering 2015 and 2016 reflected was extracted, however, the most recent CRS cut-off threshold was 475, in a draw that took place on December 22, 2016.

Canada Express Entry Report up to May this year

Canada Express Entry Report up to May this year

Given that the CRS cut-off threshold has since decreased to its most recent level of 415, many of the active candidates in the pool at the turn of the year have since been invited to apply, with many of them having also submitted an application. Either these candidates were actively in the pool with a score of 415 or above, or they secured additional points, either by improving their human capital factors, or by obtaining a job offer or a provincial nomination. A nomination from a province results in a candidate receiving 600 additional CRS points and an ITA in a subsequent draw from the pool.

The IRCC report provides a narrative of how and why the department has issued ITAs in varying amounts over time, and how these decisions have affected the make-up of the pool, as well as the CRS cut-off threshold in rounds of invitations.

Over the first two months of 2016, IRCC held draws issuing around 1,500 ITAs per draw. As planned, smaller draws of between 750 and 1,000 ITAs took place between March and August last year, thereby allowing the department to process applications received prior to Express Entry’s launch. According to IRCC, ‘during these months, a larger share of foreign nationals with a job offer or a provincial nomination were invited as they were awarded an additional 600 points. In doing so, a smaller share of candidates without either a job offer or a provincial nomination received an invitation to apply for permanent residence.’

From September, 2016 onward, draw sizes began to increase, ultimately becoming larger than ever before as nearly 3,000 ITAs were issued per draw by December (though the November 30 draw was an anomaly, as only 559 candidates, all with a provincial nomination, were invited). Around this time, IRCC introduced a number of improvements to the system. These improvements ‘have helped to attract top talent in the world,’ and the Express Entry pool is now the main source of permanent residence applications in the economic category of Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan.

IRCC’s rationale is reflected in the graph below. The ‘valley’ between draws number 29 to 42 represents the period from March to August, 2016, with a significant increase in draw sizes clearly visible thereafter.

The sizes of draws and the CRS cut-off threshold in those draws are related, as, other things being equal, a larger number of invited candidates means that IRCC has to dip deeper into the pool, thereby reducing the cut-off threshold. Similarly, when draw sizes increase, the threshold goes down.

“The report from IRCC shows that, over time, a significant large number of candidates who entered the pool with core CRS scores in the 400s, 300s, 200s and even lower have been invited to apply, with many of them now living and working in Canada,” says Attorney David Cohen.

“The spread of core CRS scores among invited candidates has been very wide, perhaps wider than most people would have imagined, proving that this is a system that rewards proactive candidates. Therefore, I would encourage individuals around the world thinking of immigrating to Canada to create an Express Entry profile in short order. Then they can attract the attention of Canadian provinces, while also aiming to increase their core CRS scores by other means.

“Even over recent weeks, we have seen lots of activity from the provinces in their Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Programs. Nova Scotia has a new occupations list and will open shortly, Ontario will open its main enhanced stream intermittently throughout the year, British Columbia conducts draws regularly, Saskatchewan’s Express Entry stream has opened a couple of times this year, and other provinces continue to welcome expressions of interest and applications, as the case may be.”

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Canada Lifts Visa Requirement for Eligible Romanians, Bulgarians, and Brazilians

Canada Lifts Visa Requirement for Eligible Romanians, Bulgarians, and Brazilians

Canada Lifts Visa Requirement for Eligible Romanians, Bulgarians, and Brazilians

Canada Lifts Visa Requirement for Eligible Romanians, Bulgarians, and Brazilians

As of May 1, 2017, eligible citizens of Romania, Bulgaria, and Brazil are no longer required to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) if they are flying to Canada. Travelers from these countries who have held a Canadian visitor visa in the past 10 years, or who currently hold a valid United States visitor visa, must instead apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) in order to enter Canada by air for a short visit, generally of up to six months, such as for a business visit or a vacation.

However, travelers who do not meet these conditions are still required to obtain a TRV in order to travel to Canada.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced this change in anticipation of the expected lifting of the visa requirement for all Romanian and Bulgarian citizens. IRCC intends to lift this requirement on December 1, 2017 — at that point, citizens of Romania and Bulgaria would be required to obtain an eTA in order to board a flight to Canada. The government has not yet confirmed if it will extend the lifting of the visa requirement to all citizens of Brazil as well.

This news is likely to be greeted with enthusiasm by citizens of these three countries, as the recent — and proposed — changes will significantly reduce wait times and costs to obtain the document needed in order to enter Canada. If the proposed changes move ahead, as of December 1, 2017, temporary workers and international students would be included in the TRV exemption. Currently, despite the May 1 changes, international students and temporary workers who hold a Romanian, Bulgarian, or Brazilian passport are still required to obtain a TRV in order to enter Canada.

The lifting of the visa requirement on citizens of Romania and Bulgaria is timely, as these two countries were the only countries in the European Union (EU) whose citizens were still required to obtain a TRV. When IRCC announced in October, 2016 that it intended to lift the visa requirement for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens, former Canadian Immigration Minister John McCallum said, “Romania and Bulgaria have worked very closely with us, and we will continue to collaborate on the transition to visa-free travel in order to ensure that once the visa lifts occur, they are sustainable over the long term. Lifting the visa requirements for Romania and Bulgaria will mean visa-free travel to Canada for citizens of all EU member states. We will all benefit from the increase in travel and trade that results.”

It is also significant that Brazil is included in this regulation change. Prior to May 1, Chile was the only country in South America whose citizens do not require a TRV in order to enter Canada. The easing of entry requirements for certain Brazilian citizens marks an expansion of Canada’s relationship with the continent. “Canada is a popular destination for Brazilian visitors and business people, and expanding eTA eligibility would make it easier and faster for many Brazilians to come to Canada,” said Rick Savone, Canada’s Ambassador to Brazil, when the announcement of the lift was made in October, 2016. “Easier travel between our two countries will lead to more opportunities to strengthen our vital people-to-people, tourism and business ties.”

Exemptions

IRCC clarified that, ‘Travelers who already have a valid Canadian visa do not need an eTA to fly to Canada and can continue to travel with their visitor visa until it expires.’ Furthermore, if a traveller holds dual citizenship of Romania, Bulgaria, or Brazil, and another country whose citizens are exempt from the requirement to obtain a TRV, the traveller may obtain an eTA in order to enter Canada — this has been the case since the introduction of the eTA requirement, and is not affected by the recent regulation change. For example, if a traveler holds dual citizenship of Romania and the United Kingdom, whose citizens do not require a TRV in order to enter Canada, the traveler could obtain an eTA using the details of his or her UK passport and enter Canada with that travel document.

Canadian citizens, including dual citizens, cannot apply for an eTA and are required to present a valid Canadian passport in order to fly to Canada.

The eTA

First launched on August 1, 2015, the eTA system became mandatory for visa-exempt travelers to Canada in November, 2016. The eTA provides a way for Canada to pre-screen individuals for admissibility before they enter Canada, with the goal of improving security and streamlining the travel process for low-risk travelers. More than 3.6 million eTAs have been issued to visa-exempt travelers since the introduction of the system.

The eTA process requires individuals to fill out some personal information and answer a few basic questions relating to criminality or medical issues. The process is entirely online, and requires:

  • a valid passport from a visa-exempt country,
  • a credit card to pay the $7.00 CAD fee,
  • a valid email address, and
  • access to the internet and a few minutes of time.

In most cases, the eTA may be issued within minutes. However, some cases may take several hours or more, and travelers are advised to apply for the eTA with plenty of time before their intended flight. It is not possible for a visa-exempt foreign national who requires an eTA to board a flight to Canada without an eTA. The eTA will be valid for a period of five years from the day on which it is issued to the applicant or until the earliest of the following days, if they occur before the end of that period:

  • the day on which the applicant’s passport or other travel document expires,
  • the day on which the electronic travel authorization is cancelled, or
  • the day on which a new electronic travel authorisation is issued to the applicant.

The eTA includes the applicant’s name, date and place of birth, gender, address, nationality, and passport and/or travel document information. If the applicant is unable to make the application by means of the electronic system because of a physical or mental disability, it may be made by another means, including a paper application form.

If a Romanian, Bulgarian, or Brazilian citizen holds a United States Green Card, he or she may obtain an eTA to enter Canada, rather than a TRV. All Green Card holders are considered visa-exempt, regardless of their citizenship.

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Quebec Immigration to Receive 5,000 New Skilled Worker Applications in 2017

Quebec Immigration to Receive 5,000 New Skilled Worker Applications in 2017

Quebec Immigration to Receive 5,000 New Skilled Worker Applications in 2017

Quebec Immigration to Receive 5,000 New Skilled Worker Applications in 2017

The Quebec Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness (MIDI) announced a maximum number of 5000 Skilled Worker Program applications submitted on line (“Mon project Quebec”), will be accepted for its intake period in 2017.  The period of reception will be revealed at a later date.

Date to be announced: Candidates may create the required online user account in order to submit an application for a Quebec Certificate of Selection (“CSQ”) for the next unscheduled intake period.

Applicants who qualify under the Quebec Experience Program or with a validated job offer may submit an application anytime and are not confined to an intake period.  Additionally, applicants with a valid study or work permit are not confined to an intake period.

The Areas of Training list features a wide range of studies awarding points to applicants and a spouse or de facto spouse for diplomas acquired outside Quebec or obtained in Quebec or recognized as Quebec equivalent.

The Quebec Skilled Worker program aims to select candidates with the highest probability of successful economic settlement potential. Foreign nationals wishing to settle permanently in Quebec must undergo a two-step immigration process.

  1. They must be selected by the Minister of immigration, diversity and inclusiveness (MIDI), Quebec’s immigration authority. Selected applicants will receive a Quebec Certificate de Selection (CSQ).
  2. An approved CSQ holder must file an application with Canadian federal immigration authorities. The federal government’s role in evaluating a Quebec application for permanent residence is mainly limited to issues of health and criminality.

Unlike the federal Express Entry immigration system or programs offered by other provinces under Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), Quebec remains the only program in Canada where skilled worker applicants are processed on a first come first served basis and can predict their chances for admission on the basis of their proven qualifications.

A Quebec skilled worker is foreign national who intends to settle in Quebec to hold employment the foreign national is likely able to hold. This determination is made using a point system which evaluates the candidate’s area of training, education, experience, age, language, qualifications of a partner or spouse, offer of employment (which is not required), and children.

Applicants in a wide range of areas including Management and Financial Services, Engineering and Information Technology and Health Care, have the best chances to succeed under the Quebec Skilled Worker program.

The Quebec application selection process follows a multi-stage assessment process each with minimum cut-off scores.  Applicants with a passing score are issued a Quebec Certificate of Selection and may apply to the federal authorities for entry to Canada. Once admitted a permanent resident enjoys all the rights and freedoms of labour mobility throughout Canada provided under the Canadian Charter.

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