Posted on - Mar 08, 2017

By Catherine Sas, Q.C.

Catherine Sas Q.C.

On January 1, 2015 Canada’s immigration program was transformed with the introduction of the Express Entry program which restricts applicants to only those selected by the government and offered an “Invitation to Apply” (ITA). The selection process is based upon an applicant’s Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) which allocates points for education, English or French language proficiency, Canadian and foreign work experience as well as that of their spouse. By setting the CRS points necessary to issue ITA’s, the government can manage their immigration inventory and their processing timelines. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), releases regular Ministerial Instructions ( MI’s) setting the CRS scores and number of applications to be issued ITA’s. Let’s take a look at the past two years and how the Express Entry Invitation process is evolving in 2017.

In our recent blog post of January 18, 2017, we looked closely at the CRS points and number of ITAs offered for the 50 MIs offered in 2015 and 2016. (http://canadian-visa-lawyer.com/canadas-express-entry-immigration-program-two-years-in-review-and-what-lies-ahead-for-2017/ ). 2015 saw 23 rounds of MI’s offered with CRS points starting at 886 to be issued an ITA. Of the 23 MIs, five rounds were issued for CRS point scores of over 700 or 800 points with the remaining 18 rounds being offered ITAs with CRS points in the range of 450 – 489 points. In 2017 there were 27 rounds of MI’s with only three sets of ITAs being offered for CRS point scores of over 500 points and the remaining 24 rounds of ITAs being offered for ITAs with CRS points in the range of 453 – 497. In both years, no ITA had been offered for an applicant with a CRS point score below 450. While the CRS scores for an ITA were moving steadily downward, 450 points was the barrier threshold.

In recent weeks however, the Minister of IRCC has finally issued ITA’s below the 450 point mark. The most recent MI’s for 2017 are set out below:

Ministerial Instructions Date Issued CRS Points offered Invitations Offered
MI #51 January 4 468 2902
MI #52 January 11 459 3334
MI #53 January 25 453 3508
MI #54 February 8 447 3644
MI #55 February 22 441 3611
MI #56 March 1 434 3884

As the above figures demonstrate, so far in 2017, IRCC has issued ITAs for steadily reduced CRS point scores. IRCC officials have indicated that this trend will continue.

In the 2015 Express Entry annual report (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/reports/ee-year-end-2015.asp ) detailed figures were provided regarding the CRS points scores for all of the applicants in the Express Entry selection pool. Not surprisingly, the largest number of applicants registered were with scores between 300 to 450 points. This new trend of reducing CRS point scores for ITAs is positive news for anxious applicants seeking to apply for Permanent Residence to Canada. Applicants with CRS points of 400 and above should be ready with all the necessary documentation to be able to submit a Permanent residence application. Once you receive an ITA you only have 90 days to file a complete application. Express Entry is a very unforgiving system and if any document is missing your application will be refused and you will need to re-enter the Express Entry pool!


Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 25 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 6 consecutive years.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.

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