Canada invited 3000 express entry candidates on March 14 cut off 456

Canada invited 3,000 Express Entry candidates on March 14 draw

Canada invited 3,000 Express Entry candidates on March 14 draw

Canada invited 3,000 Express Entry candidates on March 14 draw

Canada invited 3,000 Express Entry candidates on March 14 draw

CRS cut-off score was 456

The Government of Canada has invited 3,000 Express Entry candidates to apply for Canadian permanent residence in a new draw that took place on March 14. The minimum Comprehensive Ranking System score for this draw was 456.

This draw took place after the first three-week gap between draws in 2018. The previous draw this year took place every two weeks. Draws in 2018 have also seen the number of Invitations to Apply (ITAs) fluctuate between 2,750 and 3,000 and CRS scores range between today’s high of 456 and 442, which is the lowest score drawn thus far in 2018.

Given these fluctuations, it is interesting to contemplate when the next draw will occur and what the minimum CRS score will be.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) once again employed its tie-break rule in this latest draw. In this case, the time and date of the tie-break was March 3, 2018, at 02:12:11 UTC. This means that all candidates with a CRS score above 456, as well as those candidates with scores of 456 who entered their profile in the Express Entry pool before this time, received an ITA.

This latest draw was the fifth of 2018, which is the first year of the Canadian government’s new multi-year immigration levels plan. For 2018, Canada has established a target of 74,900 admissions through the three economic immigration classes administered through the Express Entry system — the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class and the Canadian Experience Class.

It is worth noting that the 2018 target for the three Express Entry classes is 3,200 more admissions than the target for 2017, which ultimately saw 86,023 ITA’s issued and a record low CRS score of 413 in May. April and May 2017 also saw the biggest draws conducted that year with the largest taking place on April 12, when 3,923 ITA’s were issued.

IRCC still has a long way to go toward reaching its 2018 and 2019 targets. Including the March 14 draw, Canada has now issued a total of 14,500 ITAs in 2018. It remains to be seen how the Government of Canada will meet its targets. It could mean larger draws or more frequent draws, or some other approach.

Express Entry candidates have also been the beneficiaries of an active start to 2018 for Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities Stream.

This Express Entry-linked stream, which is part of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), allows the province to search the Express Entry pool for candidates with a CRS score of at least 400, among other criteria.

Ontario held three draws in February through the Human Capital Priorities Stream, issuing a total of 1,088 invitations to apply for a provincial nomination to Express Entry candidates. Since the start of 2018, a total of 1,808 invitations have been issued to Express Entry candidates through the stream.

Express Entry candidates who successfully apply for a provincial nomination are awarded an additional 600 points toward their CRS score.

Express Entry-linked PNP’s in Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and British Columbia have also been active so far this year.

Posted in British Columbia, Canada, Canada PNP, Express Entry, Immigration, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Visa and Immigration, Work Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Express Entry linked Human Capital Priorities Stream is busier than ever

Ontario’s active Human Capital Priorities Stream has Express Entry candidates taking notice

Express Entry linked Human Capital Priorities Stream is busier than ever

Express Entry linked Human Capital Priorities Stream is busier than ever

Express Entry-linked Human Capital Priorities Stream is busier than ever — here is how it works

With the federal Express Entry system conducting draws approximately every two weeks, Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities Stream has captured the attention of economic immigration candidates with five invitation rounds since the start of 2018, including three in February.

The Human Capital Priorities Stream (HCP) allows Ontario to search the Express Entry pool for candidates with a Comprehensive Ranking System score of at least 400 points, among other criteria, and invite them to apply for a provincial nomination for permanent residence. An Express Entry candidate with a provincial nomination receives an additional 600 points toward their CRS score.

Express Entry invites many more candidates throughout the year than does the HCP stream. In 2017, for example, Express Entry issued more than 80,000 invitations to apply for Canadian permanent residence, compared to Ontario’s total allocation of 6,500 nominations, of which only a portion is used for the HCP.

In the first two months of 2018, Ontario issued 1,808 invitations to apply for a provincial nomination through the HCP. In that same time period, Express Entry issued 11,500 Invitations to Apply for Canadian permanent residence in four draws.

Still, the Human Capital Priorities Stream is more active than it has ever been, and Ontario has introduced a number of welcome improvements to the way the stream operates, including how information is announced regarding draws from the Express Entry pool.

CRS scores required

The Government of Ontario is now announcing the range of Comprehensive Ranking System scores among selected candidates, as well as the date range that shows when Express Entry candidates selected in each draw entered their profiles into the Express Entry pool.

To date, the lowest CRS score selected through the HCP stream in 2018 was 433.

The lowest minimum CRS score required announced Federal Express Entry draws in 2018 has been 442, on two separate occasions.

It is important to note, however, that not every candidate with a score in the range announced by Ontario receives a Notification of Interest or NOI. This is different than Canada’s Federal Express Entry draws, where every candidate with a score above the minimum CRS cut-off is invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

DATE OF ANNOUNCEMENT NUMBER OF INVITATIONS ISSUED CRS SCORE RANGE DATE EXPRESS ENTRY PROFILE WAS SUBMITTED
February 27, 2018 511 433-441 January 1, 2018 to February 22, 2018
February 13, 2018 488 435-441 January 1, 2018 to February 8, 2018 at 4PM EST
February 8, 2018 89 433-444 January 1, 2018 to January 25, 2018
January 26, 2018 380 433-444 January 1, 2018 to January 25, 2018
January 23, 2018 340 440-446 January 1, 2018 to January 19, 2018

Ontario’s NOI process

Once an Express Entry candidate is selected through Ontario’s HCP, he or she is issued an NOI and can then proceed to apply to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) for a provincial nomination.

After a candidate receives an NOI from Ontario, he or she has 45 calendar days to submit their application to the OINP. Applicants to the OINP pay a processing fee of $1,500.

Once an application is approved by Ontario, a candidate receives a letter from the OINP through his or her online account with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada notifying them of the nomination. The candidate then has 30 calendar days to accept the nomination from Ontario in the Express Entry system.

Yet not every candidate invited by Ontario to apply necessarily ends up applying within the 45 days deadline.

Some candidates may even risk waiting to apply after receiving NOI from Ontario in the hopes of receiving an ITA from IRCC and potentially saving some fees and time.

Profile submission dates

Another difference between Ontario HCP draws and federal Express Entry draws concerns the submission dates of valid profiles.

Profiles in the federal Express Entry pool are valid for one year, and candidates are not excluded from an Express Entry draw based on the date their profile is submitted. The submission date only matters when IRCC employs its tie-break rule.

During Ontario HCP draws, the date of profile submission has been more relevant. Since the start of 2018, OINP invitation rounds have detailed the date range when invited Express Entry candidates entered their profile in the Express Entry pool.

This development follows a 2017 OINP advisory that encouraged prospective applicants to the Human Capital Priorities Stream to create a new profile in the Express Entry system “to make it easier for the OINP to identify their profile during its search of the federal government’s Express Entry pool.”

So far in 2018, Ontario has listed January 1, 2018, as the early end of the profile submission date range in all five HCP invitation rounds.

While there may be advantages to submitting a new profile, there may also be some risk. Two HCP invitation rounds in February had profile submission cut-off dates that predated the draw by a few days.

Other Ontario Express Entry programs

In addition to the HCP, Ontario also has its Express Entry: French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream and the Express Entry Skilled Trades Stream.

The Ontario French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream is for French-Speaking skilled workers who also have strong English language abilities and who want to live and work permanently in Ontario.

The Ontario Express Entry Skilled Trades stream targets tradespersons with ongoing or recent experience of working in Ontario.

“Draws through Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities Stream and federal Express Entry draws have several important differences that everyone should keep in mind,” said Attorney David Cohen, senior partner at the Campbell, Cohen immigration law firm in Montreal. “The first step toward pursuing either of these exciting immigration avenues is to get in the federal Express Entry pool.”

Posted in Canada, Canada PNP, Express Entry, Immigration, Ontario, Visa and Immigration, Work Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How do I know if my NZ job is ‘skille’ or ‘not’?

How do I know if my NZ job is ‘skilled’ or ‘not’?

How do I know if my NZ job is ‘skilled’ or ‘not’?

How do I know if my NZ job is ‘skilled’ or ‘not’?

I’m often asked to write pieces on Immigration Policy by my marketing team because they are more widely read than my musings on the life and times of New Zealand. I confess some reluctance to do it because the fundamental reality of Immigration Policy decision-making can’t usually be broken down into bite-size chunks. It is often the case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts on the one hand and different Immigration Officers interpreting the same rules in different ways on the other.

Today I want to attempt to explain how the Immigration Department decides whether the job offer that you have in New Zealand is ‘skilled’ or not.

The first thing they have to do is to decide whether the job that you have in New Zealand falls into a Skill Level 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 category. The lower the number the more highly skilled the occupation is, on the face of it. Occupations that fall into Skill Levels 1, 2 and 3 are assessed one way and those which fall into Skill Levels 4 and 5 another.

Dealing with the lower skill level first; if your occupation is Skill Level 4 or 5, the first consideration is what it will pay and the effective hourly rate earned. You must also hold a relevant, recognised qualification comparable to the learning outcomes of a Level 4 New Zealand qualification or higher, a qualification at Level 3 on a New Zealand Qualifications Framework which is exempt from assessment by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) or you must have three years of “relevant” work experience as a substitute for one of the two qualification options.

In terms of remuneration, the effective hourly rate before tax in terms of guaranteed income is NZ$36.44 per hour or higher excluding bonuses, commissions and the value of perks such as motor vehicles, cell phones and so on.

For the Skill Level 1, 2 or 3 occupations (which I should add covers most of our clients), the effective hourly rate must be at least NZ$24.29 per hour. These applicants must also have ‘relevant’ qualifications that are recognised for points and they must have a qualification at the level or above as dictated for their occupation in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) or a certain number of years of work experience in that occupation that might substitute (usually five, but never less than three).

In this regard, New Zealand has adopted an assessment process on jobs which increasingly looks like the Australian General Skilled Migration process and that is to say that you are expected to effectively ‘nominate’ an occupation that you believe fits with your job description. You need to be extremely careful what occupation you choose.

Irrespective of which occupational title you do choose, the Immigration Officer assessing your application is still meant to treat each case on its merit and assess your primary tasks in your role with the task lists for that occupation contained in the ANZSCO or another, more suitable. It can help you influence the outcome if you can work out the right one — which I should add is often almost impossible because in the real world most job descriptions overlap with that of other related occupations.

And that’s when the trouble really begins because the rulebook says that an applicant must complete “most” of the tasks listed for that occupation in ANZSCO. The problem with that is the task list provided in the ANZSCO for your job is often, at least in part, shared with other similar occupations which may or may not be ‘skilled’.

Take for example; Retail Manager. ANZSCO has a number of occupations which fall under the general title of Retail Manager and these include: Antique Dealer, Post Officer Manager, Travel Agency Manager, Hair Salon Manager, Betting Agency Manager and General Retail Manager. They are all different but will have some tasks in common. The rulebook lists up to eight primary tasks that these occupations might do. The Immigration Officer must therefore decide which of the 8 tasks apply to your particular ‘retail management’ job. On that, in my experience, they do not excel; not made any easier for them that applicants increasingly design their job descriptions and employment contracts around these ANZSCO tasks, for which I cannot blame them. INZ often these days starts with the assumption the role has been embellished or designed to fit the ANZSCO task list and sets out to satisfy themselves the applicant and employer have embellished the role. Sometimes they are right but in our experience with our clients, they are always wrong as we make sure this never happens – if the role isn’t skilled, our clients are told to go find one that is.

I’m sure I have lost you already and this is why I don’t like writing blogs about it because it’s really hard to explain but in a nutshell, what you need to do is:

Make sure you select the most appropriate title that maximises your chances of forcing an Officer to be satisfied that you do “most” of the tasks for that occupation as recorded in ANZSCO. Expect INZ to check with the employer by phone and/or a questionnaire asking them to list what you do all day (to try and catch you and/or your employer out).

Ensure you earn enough money — remember, it is no longer gross salary that determines skill but the ‘effective hourly rate’.

As an important aside, how does the Immigration Department calculate what your effective hourly rate is?

The answer is that they look at the hours that you “may” work and that is full of fish hooks. Most Employment Agreements in New Zealand will confirm that the normal weekly hours are 40 but other such hours as may be required from time to time are expected to be worked without additional remuneration. Sometimes, the Employment Agreement might say employees are expected to work “up to 45 hours a week”. If you might work 45 hours per week then Immigration will look at your gross salary, divide that by 52 and divide that by 45 and that will usually push down the effective hourly rate. That is, even if you only work 45 hours once a year…

This is causing major problems, especially for Human Resources Departments, as we are now constantly asking that Employment Agreements be written in such a way that it takes into account the hours the employer expect the applicant will work; not what they may be asked to work from time to time. Crazy system for establishing skill and as always when these rules are changed in the minds of the policy people to solve one problem (in this case, making it easier in theory to work out what is skilled and what is not), they end up opening a whole new can of worms.

But that is what they have to do and I hope that is of some use to you.

Posted in Immigration, New Zealand, Visa and Immigration, Work Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment