Express Entry Changes to Be Introduced in June

The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has made an announcement that as of June 9, 2017, French speakers and candidates with a sibling in Canada will receive additional points under the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking (CRS). While these two changes may not radically alter the general make-up of the Express Entry pool, the additional points will make a positive difference to candidates who obtain them.    

Further to that, registration in the Canada Job Bank will become voluntary.

The CRS in its current form will continue to be used in order to rank and select candidates in the pool, and it is expected that IRCC will continue to conduct draws from the pool, until June 6, as well as after that date.

The last time improvements of this magnitude were done to the CRS took place in November 2016, on this occasion the number of CRS points awarded for a qualifying job offer was reduced from 600 to 50 or 200, depending on the position offered. At the same time, IRCC made a change that awarded additional points to candidates who had completed their education in Canada. 

These changes show the level of effort and willingness of the Canadian government to optimize the Express Entry system so that more candidates with skills and experience, that according to Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, “will help our economy and communities to grow.” 

So far in 2017, the IRCC has increased the number of candidates being invited, the first three months of last year saw 9, 465 ITAs issued, whereas so far this year, a total of 24,652 ITAs have been issued, an increase of more than 160 percent. 

Since the launch of Express Entry, Canada has welcomed more than 43,000 landed immigrants through the Express Entry system. Nearly, 90,000 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residence have been issued in that time, with many applicants either awaiting a decision on their application or having received confirmation of permanent residence, but have not yet completed the process of landing in Canada. 

June 6 changes

French language skills

In order to enter the Express Entry pool, eligible candidates must first prove their efficiency in English or French by taking a standardized language test recognized by IRCC. Of the 1,200 points available in total under the CRS, 136 points may be awarded for a candidate’s first language, with a further 24 available for ability in a second language. Up to 100 more points are available for a candidate’s language skills within the combination (skills transferability) factors. 

This will still remain the case as of June 6. However, IRCC will make some fine adjustments so that the CRS awards additional points to candidates with French language skills, with more points awarded to French speakers who also prove their English skills.  

At present, there are other ways in which candidates can benefit from their French ability. For example, the province of Ontario operates an Express Entry-aligned French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream within the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).

Siblings in Canada

As of June 6, candidates with a sibling in Canada who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of at least 18 years of age may be awarded 15 additional CRS points. These points may also be awarded if the candidate’s spouse or common-law partner has a sibling in Canada.

The candidate or his or her spouse/common-law partner must share a mother and/or father with the sibling in Canada. This relationship can be through blood, adoption, marriage, or common-law partnership.

According to IRCC having a sibling in Canada has been shown to improve health and social outcomes by accelerating a newcomer’s integration into their new life in Canada.

Canada Job Bank

On June 6, Job Bank registration will become voluntary for all candidates. Candidates who do not have a job in Canada lined up and would like to start their job search will nevertheless be able to register for Job Bank, and this option expected to continue to be available free of charge.  

This step follows the changes last November, which reduced the number of points that may be awarded for a job offer. Together, the two changes show that IRCC is de-emphasizing the job factor within the Express Entry, and in the process promoting human capital and skills factors. 

Since Express Entry was launched, and until June 6, candidates without a qualifying job offer or a provincial nomination must register in the Job Bank before they become eligible for selection.

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