Construction [Public Domain]
Since the launch of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's Express Entry system in January, 2015 there have been 137 selection draws and tens of thousands of candidates invited to apply for permanent residence.
The first selection draw saw 779 invites with the lowest selected score being 886 points. This created a lot of concern as most of the candidates in the pool did not have a valid job offer. The following draws reinforced these fears as every candidate selected had valid a job offer.
However, there was great news for candidates in the Express Entry pool when the points awarded for job offers dropped, meaning that all candidates without job offers (which are hard to get!) now have relatively higher scores.
The other great news? Since Express Entry began, the lowest selected score has dropped drastically:
Despite the fact that the Express Entry score has dropped dramatically, Candidates who are in the Express Entry pool still have no certainty that they will be selected before their work permits expire. This is especially true given the score has started to creep up again.
The majority of candidates who remain in the pool have scores ranging over 350 points. When the score dropped to the low 400s we predicted the lowest score selected in each draw to fall less dramatically as there were thousands of candidates in this score range. That's what happened for a while when the cutoff score was hovering in the 440s for the most part. However, things have changed.
After initially hovering in the 440s, and even dropping into the 430s in early 2019, the scores were consistently in the 450s and the 460s throughout much of 2019. Then, in late 2019, they rose into the 470s and have stayed there since. That's because there are more candidates in the pool than ever before and enough of them have scores in the 460s or higher to keep the cutoff from dropping any lower.
199 Points?!?! Is that Possible? - FST Draws
On May 26, 2017, Draw 64 had an unbelievably low 199 points. But we should be careful. Draw 64 was for the Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program only. Since that time there have been a number of other FST-only draws:
- in November 2017 (241 points)
- in May 2018 (288 points
- in September 2018 (284 points)
- in May 2019 (352 points)
- and September 2019 (357 points)
The points threshold is low because some requirements are lower for the FST to allow badly needed tradespeople to immigrate to Canada. The threshold of around 200-350 points is determined by IRCC staff looking at the pool and seeing there were a number of tradespeople in the pool with scores between 200 and 400 points. These tradespeople were likely deemed to have enough skills to function in Canada. It is extremely unlikely that this low threshold will ever happen for FST or CEC. But, as you can see, even the FST cutoffs are increasing with time.
Cutoffs Remain High
Worse news is the number of applicants currently in the pool with at least 470 points (the cutoff of the latest draw): there are nearly 20,000. (That's over 6 regular draws worth). There are over 41,000 applicants in the pool with at least 400 points, which means it's extremely unlikely the cutoff score will drop down to 400 points in the next couple of years.
There are options to update and increase your Express Entry score. If you have a foreign education credential you can have your credential assessed and equivalated to the Canadian level. Your spouse or common-law partner may also gain you additional points on their age, language proficiency, education and Canadian work experience.
Also, make sure your profile is current! You will need to set up a new profile if you are not Invited to Apply within one year.
Draws in 2020
|Draw||Number of invitations issued||CRS score of lowest-ranked candidate invited|
|#137 - February 19, 2020||4,500
(All Time High)
|#136 - February 5, 2020||3,500||472 points|
|#135 - January 22, 2020||3,400||471 points|
|#134 - January 8, 2020||3,400||473 Points
Updated for 2020