Understanding the rounds of invitations for Express Entry is important for anyone who wishes to proceed in the program, and this blog will detail that process.
Periodically, IRCC, through a Ministerial Instruction, issues Invitations to Apply to candidates in the Express Entry pool. These instructions are somewhat technical, but they state exactly what the Immigration Minister sets for that round in terms of rankings (i.e. points in the profile), class (i.e. which of the 4 subprograms is selected), and the total number of invitations.
The timing of the ITAs varies due to internal and external events, and even immigration lawyers have limited insight into their internal processes. However, certain patterns are apparent from the public data. Draws generally occur, every two weeks, in order to align with IRCC’s capacity for processing.
The categories drawn are also affected by outside disruption; in March 2020, with the vast disruption of the pandemic to the world (and immigration in particular), IRCC began to focus on those who did not face entry barriers to Canada, by restricting invitations to the Canadian Experience Class and the Provincial Nominees. The former are already working in Canada, and so faced less disruption to their immigration for obtaining PR, while most of the latter were either already in Canada or had job offers, and so were economically important enough to be allowed to travel despite the pandemic border restrictions. Those in other categories were left out for lengthy periods of time in 2020, 2021 and the first half of 2022. Many profiles expired in the meantime, and candidates had to either recreate their information for another year, or in some cases, aged out of the Express Entry program completely.
Since then, as the pandemic restrictions were lifted, the ITAs have returned to the old biweekly pattern, with all classes being regularly included in draws. Periodically there will still be draws for PNP only, but these are now the exception. With the barriers of the pandemic gone, having a higher score is now important again, as they are the main way IRCC selects candidates.
Thankfully, IRCC posts the number of invitations and the lowest score selected with each draw on a public website at: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/immigrate-canada/express-entry/submit-profile/rounds-invitations.html, so it is easy to see the ballpark range for an invitation, based on prior history. However, there will always be some uncertainty, and every once in a while they will do something unexpected in scoring, such as February 13, 2021, in which a very large number of invitations was sent out due to an unusually low cut-off score. Many who would otherwise never have qualified for an ITA were put on the road to PR. Such a draw has not has not recurred since, but the lesson is to expect the unexpected. IRCC has in the past, and will in the future, announce make changes due to new public policies and their own internal requirements, which even the most well-informed outsider cannot predict.
This blog details the many legal issues among Luka's practice areas, for a general audience. None of this information is a substitute for legal advice.