Good news: Canada resumes Express Entry draws for Foreign Skilled Workers!

UPDATE AS OF September 16, 2020: On August 16, Canada again issued 4,200 ITAs with no program specified. This was the second consecutive draw of 4,200 open to all categories. The cutoff dropped to 472.

On Wednesday July 8, 2020 Canada announced a new Express Entry draw for all programs included in the Express Entry system. This is great news for well qualified applicants outside Canada without Canadian work experience. The cutoff score for the July 8 draw was 478, and 3,900 invitations were issued. This was the first draw since March 4, 2020 to include Foreign Skilled Workers. All draws since March 4 have been limited to Provincial Nominees and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). CEC applicants must have worked in Canada for at least one year. This was done because persons in these two classes are already in Canada in 90% of the cases. Canada was concerned about the ability of Foreign Skilled Workers outside Canada to travel to Canada during the pandemic. As a result of the CEC-only policy, cutoff scores dropped to 431, while Foreign Skilled Workers with much higher scores were left in the pool. That is why the cutoff score jumped from 431 back up to 478 when Skilled Workers were again included.

However, on July 22 and 23, Canada again limited the draw to Provincial Nominees and Canadian Experience Class. This indicates that Canada may continue to limit the number of draws available to workers outside Canada for some time to come. Once Skilled Worker draws fully resume, we estimate that cutoffs could drop to the 460 level or lower at the current rate of 3,900 invitations per draw. This is because very few people have joined the pool since March, due to the shutdown of the language testing centers during the pandemic.

Cutoffs in the 460 to 470 range are readily attainable by persons with strong language test results, a master’s degree or better, and several years of work experience. Immigration to Canada in as little as six months remains a realistic goal for many, including H-1B visa holders and DACA recipients in the United States.

We strongly urge persons interested in Canadian immigration to take the language test as soon as possible, and beat the rush before the Express Entry pool begins to refill more rapidly. Contact us now for help in preparing your application.

For persons currently unable to meet the current Express Entry cutoffs, especially persons in their mid 30s or older, the best solution is to seek a job offer in Canada. This guarantees an extra 50 points, or 200 points in the case of a management level job offer. One year of work in Canada results in another 40 points for Canadian work experience. In some cases, a job offer will also result in a provincial nomination with a 600 point bonus. With strong language results these extra points will ensure an Invitation to Apply even for older applicants.

Other solutions may include improving your language results through additional language training, or obtaining a second degree. In some cases, even a one year diploma can add 25 points to your score.

For more information about the Express Entry program, visit our web page on Express Entry.