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The Canadian Express Entry System – A Look Back From the Beginning!

Canadian Express Entry System

The Canada Express Entry system, one of the most popular immigration systems in the world, was launched on January 1st, 2015 with an aim to streamline economic immigration to Canada. Today, Express Entry system is the main driver of economic immigration to Canada.

Canada Express Entry system manages applications for permanent residence under three federal economic immigration programs–Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program and Canadian Experience Class, besides certain provincial nominee programs aligned to the Express Entry.

The Express Entry system replaced the ‘first-come, first served’ model of Canada immigration. Earlier, the selection of candidates for Canada immigration was mainly based on who submitted their application first. But in Express Entry system, applications of candidates are compared with one another after which, the most qualified candidates are invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

As per the Canada Immigration Plan for 2018-2020, Canada aims to increase the numbers accepted through the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Canadian Experience Class, and Federal Skilled Trades Class to around 250,000 over the next three years.

CRS cut-off score: A retrospection

The Comprehensive Ranking System is a score out of 1,200, which is used to benchmark Express Entry candidates. The score indicates the candidate’s capability to become economically successful in Canada. In Express Entry draws, CRS cut-off score is used to select eligible candidates for inviting to apply for permanent residence.

In the draws held in 2015, invitations were sent only to those candidates who earned more than 600 Comprehensive Ranking System(CRS) points.  But within a few months itself, the minimum required score came down to 450. It came further down and in May 2017, candidates with scores as low as 413 were invited to apply. In the program-specific draws, especially the FSTC draws, candidates with scores as low as 199 were invited to apply.

Highest and lowest CRS cutoff points

Lowest till date: 413(all programs), 199 (FSTC)

Highest till date: 886 (all programs), 902 (PNP)



Lowest: 440(all programs) and 288(FSTC)

Highest: 456 (all programs), 902 (PNP)


Lowest:  413 (all programs), 199 (FSTC)

Highest: 468 (all programs), 775 (PNP)


Lowest:  453

Highest: 786


Lowest: 450

Highest: 886

CRS cut-off scores for Express Entry Draws held in 2018

Date of draw

Minimum CRS score

August 8, 2018 440
July 25, 2018 441
July 11, 2018 442
June 25, 2018  442
June 13, 2018 451
May 23, 2018 440
May 9, 2018 441
April 25, 2018 441
April 11, 2018 444
March 26, 2018 446
March 14, 2018 456
February 21, 2018 442
February 7, 2018 442
January 24, 2018 444
January 10, 2018 446


Number of invitations sent

In the first-ever Express Entry draw held on January 1st 2015, the number of invitations issued was 779. Then the numbers witnessed a gradual increase over the past three years. The number of Invitations to Apply for permanent residence issued in the latest draw held on August 8, 2018 was 3750. The year 2018 witnessed a gradual increase in the number of ITAs from 2,750 to 3750. The Canadian Government has issued a total number of 50,950 ITAs till date through the Express Entry Draws held this year. Canada has set a target to admit 74,900 candidates through Express Entry in 2018.

The issuing of 3,750 ITAs in the past few consecutive Express Entry draws is the continuation of a trend set by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in 2017. As per this trend, draw sizes remain the same over successive invitation rounds followed by an increase of 250 or 500 in around every two months. In 2018, draw sizes grew from 2,750 to 3000 and 3500 and now to 3750.

Number of ITAs issued through Express Entry


Total number of ITAs issued

2018 50,950
2017 86,023
2016 33,782
2015 31,063
Total 201,818

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