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Federal Skilled Trades-specific Express Entry draw is the second of 2019

New Express Entry draw invites trades candidates with scores as low as 357

The Government of Canada invited 500 Federal Skilled Trades Class candidates with Comprehensive Ranking Scores as low as 357 to apply for Canadian permanent residence in a new Express Entry draw held October 16. 

The program-specific draw was the second of 2019 to target candidates in the Federal Skilled Trades Class, which is open to foreign nationals with a certificate of qualification that proves they are qualified to work in an eligible skilled trade in Canada OR have an eligible offer of employment in Canada, among other criteria.

The Federal Skilled Trades Class is one of three Federal High Skilled immigration programs managed by the  Express Entry system. The other two are the  Federal Skilled Worker Class and the Canadian Experience Class.

The vast majority of Express Entry draws involve candidates from all three classes and today’s draw was one of the rare exceptions to this rule.

The previous Express Entry draw held October 2 was an all-program draw that issued 3,900 invitations to apply (ITAs). Given Canada’s higher admission targets for its three Federal High Skilled immigration programs in 2019 and 2020,  it is expected that IRCC will resume larger draws in the weeks to come.

All eligible Express Entry candidates are given a score under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) that is based on factors such as age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French and are entered into the Express Entry pool.

Unlike all-program invitation rounds, which draw from the entire Express Entry pool and tend to result in higher cut-off scores, niche draws for a specific cohort like Federal Skilled Trades Class candidates can produce lower cut-off scores given they target a smaller pool of candidates.

Today’s cut-off score of 357 was 81 points lower than the lowest cut-off score this year in an all-program Express Entry draw, which was 438.

The tie-break used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in the October 16 draw was March 4, 2019, at 20:36:42 UTC. This means that all Federal Skilled Trades Class candidates with a CRS score above 357, as well as those with scores of 357 who entered their profile in the Express Entry pool before this date and time, received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence.

Today’s draw is a reminder of the various ways Express Entry candidates with lower CRS scores may receive an ITA.

Several Express Entry-aligned provincial nomination streams also have lower CRS requirements compared to all-program federal draws.

Express Entry candidates with a provincial nomination receive an additional 600 CRS points and are effectively guaranteed an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Alberta selected Express Entry candidates with scores as low as 400 in its latest draw. Previous draws through the Alberta Express Entry Stream have selected candidates with CRS scores as low as 300.

Other Express Entry-aligned provincial nomination streams do not consider a candidate’s CRS score and employ their own unique points system instead. Examples of these streams in Manitoba and British Columbia both held draws in the past week.

In order to be considered for a nomination through most Express Entry-aligned provincial streams, the first step is to submit an Express Entry profile.

The following is a hypothetical example of a candidate who would have obtained an ITA in the October 16 Federal Skilled Trades draw:

Tim is a 30-year-old cook who completed a two-year culinary school certificate. He has an intermediate English language proficiency and has been working as a cook for five years. Tim recently visited Canada briefly to certify as a cook but has never worked in Canada. Tim’s CRS score of 359 would have been high enough to obtain an ITA in the October 16 draw.

“Today’s draw is good news for trades candidates with scores that haven’t met the cut-off for all-program Express Entry draws,” said David Cohen, senior partner with the Campbell, Cohen Canadian immigration law firm in Montreal.

“Given Canada’s higher targets for this year and 2020, larger draws are sure to resume through the final quarter of 2019.”

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