Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has revamped the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) for its Express Entry immigration selection system. The changes, which had been expected for some time, will have a major effect on candidates for immigration to Canada through the three federal programs managed through Express Entry, namely the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class, and the Canadian Experience Class.
The new instructions on Express Entry, which were published in the government of Canada’s official Gazette, come into force on November 19, 2016.
The significant changes to job offers are:
A qualifying job offer is now worth 200 points if the offer is in an occupation contained in a Major Group 00 of the National Occupational Classification (senior managerial level position). These occupations are:
- 0011 Legislators
- 0012 Senior government managers and officials
- 0013 Senior managers – financial, communications and other business services
- 0014 Senior managers – health, education, social and community services and membership organizations
- 0015 senior managers – trade, broadcasting and other services not elsewhere classified.
- 0016 Senior managers – construction, transportation, production and utilities
A qualifying job offer is now worth 50 points if the offer is any other qualifying offer of arranged employment.
Previously, qualifying job offers supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment were worth 600 points under the CRS. As of November 19, candidates with qualifying job offers will be awarded either 200 or 50 points, depending on the position. Moreover, certain work permit holders may be awarded points for their job offer even if they have not obtained an LMIA (note: LMIA holders will also continue to be awarded points for a job offer).
In addition to LMIA holders, the new regulations also allow the following individuals to be awarded points for a qualifying job offer:
- Individuals with a work permit are issued under an international agreement, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
- Individuals with a work permit are issued under the ‘significant benefits to Canada’ criteria, such as Intra-Company Transfers.
In both above cases, the worker must have been working in Canada for at least one year and the job offer must be made by the same employer named on the work permit. A full list may be reviewed in the table below.
Finally, the job offer duration requirement has also changed from ‘indeterminate’ to at least one year in duration.
Workers currently in Canada: Is your work permit acceptable for Express Entry?
The table below shows which foreign workers in Canada may be able to obtain points for a job offer.
|NAFTA||Post-Graduation Work Permits|
|Intra-Company Transfer||International Experience Canada (IEC)|
|Labor Market Impact Assessment-based Work Permits||Work Permits issued to Spouses/Common-Law Partners of foreign workers and international students in Canada|
|Canada-Provincial/Territorial issued Work Permits||All other Open Work Permits|
|Other Work Permits issued under the significant benefit to Canada initiative|
Canadian study now a factor
The points that are to be assigned for a Canadian educational credential are the following:
- 0 points, if the foreign national has a secondary school educational credential;
- 15 points, if the foreign national has an eligible credential from a one-year or two-year post-secondary program; and
30 points, if the foreign national has either:
- an eligible credential from a post-secondary program of three years or more,
- an eligible credential from a university-level program at the master’s level or at the level of an entry-to-practice professional degree for an occupation listed in the National Occupational Classification matrix at Skill Level A for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required, or
- an eligible credential from a university-level program at the doctoral level.
Points are only assigned for Canadian study experience if, for the purpose of obtaining the credential, the foreign national:
- studied in Canada at a Canadian educational institution;
- was enrolled in full-time study or training for at least eight months; and
- was physically present in Canada for at least eight months.
Before these changes, there were no additional points available for international students/graduates who had completed a study program in Canada. The changes reflect the government’s goal of providing simpler pathways to permanent residents to international students and graduates in Canada.
Invitations to Apply
Candidates who receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence will have additional time to submit a complete application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Whereas previously an ITA was valid for 60 days, candidates will now have 90 days to submit an application after they receive an ITA.
The consequences for candidates in the pool
On November 19, IRCC may automatically implement these changes for profiles already in the Express Entry pool. In many cases, candidates may notice that the number of CRS points awarded to them has not gone up. However, candidates without a job offer, in particular, should note that their profile — even though it may state the same number of points as before — may become more competitive, particularly next to candidates with LMIA-based job offers who see their scores dropping by up to 550 points.
The Express Entry pool is a competitive environment, where candidates’ profiles are ranked against each other and the highest-ranked candidates are in a stronger position to receive an ITA when a draw is made. As of November 19, the value of a job offer will go down from 600 points to either 200 or 50 points (depending on the position offered).
IRCC’s year-end Express Entry report for 2015, released earlier this year, showed that of the 31,063 ITAs issued last year, 14,465 (46.6%) were issued to candidates who had a job offer supported by an LMIA. Consequently, the effect of the most recent changes to the CRS could significantly change the make-up of the pool and the rate of candidates with a job offer who go on to receive an ITA. Although candidates with a job offer will continue to be awarded a significant number of points (50 or 200, depending on the position), candidates without a job offer may see their chances of success improving.
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) Now the Most Valuable Factor
It should be noted that candidates who obtain an enhanced nomination certificate through a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) category will continue to be awarded 600 points. Additionally, candidates should note that IRCC’s recently-released Immigration Plan for 2017 revealed that the government of Canada aims to welcome around 51,000 new immigrants through the PNPs next year, a seven percent increase on the target for 2016. With more enhanced PNP categories opening and changing over time, it is arguably more important than ever before for candidates to stay up to date on these immigration programs.