Canadian Immigration News Board

Date : 1st April 2021

Express Entry Draw (CEC)

Canada invited 5,000 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence on April 1. Invited candidates needed to be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and have a score of at least 432 in order to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), 17 points less than the previous CEC-only draw.


Candidates who had the minimum score of 432 were only invited if they submitted their Express Entry profile before February 16, 2021 at 09:51:22 UTC, as per the tie-break rule. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) publishes the cut-off time for the tie-break rule as an administrative requirement, regardless of whether there was an actual tie.

IRCC prioritizing in-Canada Express Entry candidates

Canada’s border is still closed to non-essential international travel, but at the same time, the government still needs to welcome high numbers of new permanent residents. This is because the current government set an ambitious target to welcome 401,000 new immigrants in 2021, with economic class immigrants set to arrive mostly through Express Entry-managed programs.


To meet these targets amid travel restrictions, IRCC has been holding program-specific draws that target candidates who are likely already in the country. CEC candidates need at least one year of full-time work experience in a skilled occupation, so it is likely they are already in Canada when they submit their Express Entry profiles. IRCC previously reported that about 90 per cent of CEC candidates are in Canada.


When the border first closed in March 2020, Canada alternated between holding PNP-specific draws and rounds of invitation that only invited candidates who might be eligible for the CEC. IRCC went with this pattern until the later part of the year when it started holding all-program draws again, which do not single out candidates of any particular program.

Since the new year, IRCC has been back to holding PNP- and CEC-specific draws. On February 13, the department invited every-single candidate who was eligible for the CEC to apply for permanent residence.


The previous Express Entry draw on March 31 targeted Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates. PNP-only candidates have demonstrated to the province that nominated them that they have the necessary skills to support the regional labour market. These candidates have higher CRS scores because receiving a PNP automatically grants Express Entry candidates an additional 600 points.

Earlier this year, IRCC invited every single CEC-eligible candidate from the Express Entry pool on February 13, a total of 27,332 immigration candidates. Because of this record-smashing draw, the number of ITAs issued in 2021 is already 49,124, nearly half of its target of new Express Entry candidates to admit in 2021. At this time last year, IRCC had issued 22,600.

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