Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has released its Express Entry Year-End Report covering 2016, providing a valuable insight into the successes and status of the Express Entry system for immigration to Canada. Individuals who are interested in studying in Canada are likely to be particularly interested in this report, as it highlights the recent changes and trends within the Express Entry system, and how this benefits international graduate candidates.
For a full overview of the Express Entry Year-End Report 2016, consult this CICNews article.
This most recent Express Entry Year-End Report revealed that in 2016, 11,992 international graduates were invited to apply to immigrate to Canada through the programs managed under the Express Entry system. The represents 35 percent of the total number of candidates invited in 2016, and a significant increase over the total number of candidates invited in 2015 (8,056).
Read more about international students and the Express Entry system.
Insights from the report
On November 19, 2016, IRCC introduced changes to the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Among these changes was the introduction of additional points for a Canadian degree, diploma, or certificate. These points are awarded in addition to the points granted for the level of education.
|Level of education||Additional CRS points|
|One- or two-year post-secondary program||15|
|Post-secondary program of three years or more, or Master’s, Doctoral, or eligible entry-to-practice professional degree||30|
Between the introduction of these changes and the end of 2016, 36 percent of invited candidates claimed additional points for a Canadian educational credential. It should be noted that that number does not include international graduates who had been nominated by a province and who may have been invited in the draw on November 30, which invited only those candidates with a provincial nomination certificate.
Throughout 2016, 41 percent of candidates invited with a provincial nomination certificate held a Canadian degree, diploma, or certificate. This figure rose to 43 percent for candidates invited through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
As of January 19, 2017, there were 55,475 candidates in the Express Entry pool. Of these, 14 percent had a Canadian educational credential. While this seems like a low percentage, the median score of these international graduate candidates was 423, compared to a median score of 373 among candidates without a Canadian educational credential. Considering the latest Express Entry draw saw a record low CRS score requirement of 415, it is clear to see that these candidates benefit greatly from their Canadian educational experience when it comes to their position in the Express Entry pool.
The Year-End Report 2016 states explicitly that “Former international students are a key source of candidates in Express Entry because of their age, education, skills and experience. In addition to the time already spent in Canada, integrating into Canadian society permanently will be easier because they will have established social networks and they will have familiarized themselves with life in Canada.”
This echoes sentiments from Canada’s political class, including former Minister of Immigration, John McCallum, who has called international students “the cream of the crop, in terms of future Canadians.” McCallum has also noted that international students had been “short-changed” by the Express Entry system, and this was the rationale behind the reworking of the CRS in November, 2016.
At the same time as additional points were introduced for a Canadian educational credential, the number of points awarded for a qualifying job offer was reduced from 600 points to 50 or 200 points, depending on the skill level of the job offered.
As a candidate’s CRS score determines his or her ranking in the pool, and therefore his or her chances of being invited to apply for Canadian permanent resident status, the combination of these additional points, and a reduction in points to candidates with a qualifying job offer, had the effect of making international graduate candidates’ profiles more competitive within the Express Entry pool.
IRCC intended this effect. When they introduced the changes, they stated that “a reduction of points to candidates with arranged employment means the CRS cut-off will decline, leaving more invitation space for students.”
The Express Entry System and International Graduates
Express Entry is a dynamic intake management system that handles applications through three of Canada’s most popular economic immigration programs: the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), and the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC). Individuals who are eligible for one of these three programs may create an Express Entry profile. Upon doing so, they are assigned a score under the CRS, and enter a pool of candidates. This score is based on various factors including education and work history, age, and language ability, among others. Candidates in the Express Entry pool are ranked according to their score, and the top-ranking candidates receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent resident status during periodic draws conducted by IRCC.
These programs are popular among international graduates from Canadian institutions who may wish to remain in Canada after their studies. The CEC is particularly interesting, as it is not points-based, and an individual who otherwise meets the program requirements may become eligible for the CEC after working in a skilled position in Canada for one year. Consequently, international graduates who obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit and work in Canada for at least a year, may become eligible for this program.
International graduates who meet the program requirements of the FSWC or the FSTC may also submit a profile to the Express Entry pool through those programs.
Learn more about immigration options for international graduates.
More growth expected in 2017
With draw sizes continuing to remain high, and CRS requirements continuing to decrease, current and potential international students in Canada can expect that opportunities for immigration to Canada may be available to them upon graduation. The Canadian government continues to support pathways to immigration for talented graduates from around the world.
International students and post-graduate workers in Canada can join the CanadaVisa Study Hub for a chance to win a $2,500 scholarship. Members also get access to exclusive notifications, tools and resources to help maximize their time in Canada and pursue a pathway to permanent residence.
If you want to discover your options for studying in Canada, or staying in Canada after graduation, complete the free CanadaVisa Study Pathway Assessment Form today.
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