Sas & Ing, Barristers & Solicitors, Immigration Law Centre

Immigration Lawyers Share the Ins and Outs of Express Entry Amidst a Global Pandemic

Sas & Ing Immigration Lawyers in Canada say COVID-19 has resulted in numerous immigration casualties


Vancouver, BC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/11/2020 --As a team of immigration lawyers in Canada, the team at Sas & Ing have been hard at work. Not surprisingly, the Express Entry playing field changed with the emergence of the pandemic. This pattern was altered on March 18, 2020 when the Express Entry draws began issuing alternate draws for PNP and CEC applicants only. For more go to:

Prior to Covid-19 the established pattern of selection was to provide a twice monthly open draw to all four Express Entry categories: the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW); the Canadian Experience Class (CEC); the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).

After March 18, 2020, the Express Entry draws began issuing alternate draws for PNP and CEC applicants only. The message was clear. Canada's department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) would be issuing invitations to apply (ITAs) primarily to people already in Canada with Canadian work experience or supported by a Canadian employer. IRCC's emphasis was on limiting cross border travel and supporting the Canadian economy.

This has been evident in the altered CRS scoring. For most of the past year, CRS scores for open draws hovered in the mid 400's ranging from a low of 438 at the beginning of 2019, rising to a high of 475 near the end of the year. Early 2020 saw scores maintained between 470 and 473.

Then COVID-19 descended upon us and with states of emergency being declared across Canada's provinces and territories in mid-March, Express Entry also changed its mode of operation.

Concurrent with IRCC's Covid-19 changes to Express Entry selection, the service partners in the Express Entry system – educational credential assessment (ECA) providers and approved language testing centres also suspended their operations worldwide. The ramifications of these closures were that new and future applicants would not be able to obtain the necessary supporting documents of a language test or an ECA in order to be able to register an Express Entry profile.

Again, not surprisingly, CRS scores to receive an ITA as a CEC applicant also started to drop – from a high of 473 on January 8 to a low of 437 on June 11th. The scores for PNP draws have fluctuated between a low of 698 and a high of 808. IRCC officials have indicated no intention to open up the issuance of ITAs to all four Express Entry categories for the foreseeable future continuing to focus on persons already within Canada. For approved PNP applicants currently outside of Canada, the option of coming to work in Canada is on hold at present.

Interestingly, notwithstanding the suspension of services from language testing centres and ECA providers, the pool of Express Entry applicants has continued to rise. The number of applicants in the Express Entry pool hovered between a low of 138,955 on January 6, 2020 to a high of 144,042 applicants on March 3, 2020.

Following the Express Entry Covid-19 response, the number of applicants has steadily increased to over 145,000 at each and every draw up until the most recent draws of May 28 (144,567) and June 11 (143,567). It remains to be seen whether the numbers of applicants in the pool will continue to remain at current levels or will ultimately drop off given the inability of prospective applicants to be able to register an Express Entry profile.

Express Entry was introduced on January 1, 2015 in order to allow Canada the opportunity of managing its immigration flow. By having applicants register a profile demonstrating their ability to meet the selection criteria of one of the four Express Entry application categories, IRCC is able to set the mark for which applicants they will select. IRCC's response to COVID-19 confirms the overall success of the program to manage Canada's immigration inventory and to select applicants that best suit Canada's economic needs of the day.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada or becoming a permanent resident, please call 1-604-689-5444 and connect with one of the Canadian Immigration lawyers at Sas & Ing.

About Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre
Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre has over 30 years of continued in-depth and comprehensive expertise in most aspects of Canadian Immigration practice. Sas & Ing have facilitated applications to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Service Canada and Canada Border Services Agency. Catherine & Victor work closely with other lawyers specializing in Business, Employment, Tax, and Real Estate to provide comprehensive legal advice to companies and individuals as they navigate the regulatory requirements necessary for temporary or permanent establishment in Canada.

For additional information, please visit or call (604) 689-5444

Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre
Catherine Sas
(604) 689-5444
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