Construction [Public Domain]
Since the launch of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's Express Entry system in January, 2015 there have been 94 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, great news for candidates in the Express Entry occurred 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.
The majority of candidates who remain in the pool have scores ranging over 400 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 and since then the cutoff score has been hovering in the 440s for the most part.
It is very hard to predict how low the points will drop going forward, but so far the trend for 2018 is to increase the size of the draws, since more and more applicants have scores in the 440s and up.
199 Points?!?! Is that Possible?
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 two other FST-only draws, in November 2017 and May 2018. The points threshold is so low because some requirements are lower for the FST to allow badly needed tradespeople to immigrate to Canada. The threshold of less than 200 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 unlikely that this low threshold will happen again. It's also extremely unlikely that a 200-point threshold will ever be available to FSW and CEC applicants.
Worse news is the number of applicants currently in the pool with at least 440 points (the cutoff of the latest draw). There are wellover 10,000 applicants in the pool with at least 440 points, which means it's very unlikely the cutoff score will drop down to 400 points any time soon.
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.