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March 18 Express Entry draw limited to Provincial Nominees, followed by large draw for Canadian Experience Class

Amid growing concerns over the COVID-19 epidemic, the Express Entry draw on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 was limited to 668 persons with a cutoff of 720 points. Although not stated in so many words, this draw was clearly limited to Provincial Nominees. Provincial Nominees receive a bonus of 600 points. This was perhaps done from concerns the nomination certificates will expire.

On March 23 another draw was held limited to persons qualifying under the Canadian Experience Class. This is a category of persons with one year or more or work experience in Canada. This draw extended to 3,232 persons with a cutoff or 467. Combined with the draw on March 18, this amounted to a total of 3,900 ITAs. This is a hopeful sign Canada will continue with substantial numbers of Express Entry draws despite the Coronavirus crisis.

As recently as February 19, 2020, a general Express Entry draw dropped to a cutoff of 470 points after hitting a recent high of 475. In the February 19 draw, the number of invitations increased from 3,500 to 4,500. This draw included all categories of Express Entry applicants. This was a hopeful sign that numbers would increase and the cutoff will soon drop to the 460-470 range.

Cutoffs in the 460 to 470 range are attainable by persons with strong language test results, a bachelor’s degree or better, and several years of work experience. Once regular processing resumes, 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.

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 regardless of age.

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, visit our web page on Express Entry.