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Comparing Express Entry Draws of 2024 to Those of 2023

In 2024, the Express Entry system has undergone notable transformations. These include regular revisions to proof of funds prerequisites, Immigration Minister Marc Miller's commitment to increasing "domestic draws" for Express Entry hopefuls, and substantial elevations in CRS scores alongside a month-long suspension of draws.

With these changes in mind, how do the issuance rates of invitations to apply (ITAs) compare between the initial six months of 2024 and the corresponding period in 2023? What insights can we glean from this analysis regarding the future operation of Express Entry throughout the remainder of the year?

How many invitations to apply (ITAs) were granted in the initial half of 2023?

During this period, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) conducted 13 Express Entry draws, issuing a total of 49,948 ITAs to prospective immigrants.

These draws encompassed various categories:

- General draws, which included the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

- Draws related to the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

- Specific draws targeting the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).

Additionally, in 2023, IRCC introduced the designation "No Program Specified" to indicate a general draw.

How many invitations to apply (ITAs) were issued in the first half of 2024?

During this period, IRCC conducted 19 Express Entry draws, granting a total of 41,855 ITAs to immigration candidates.

The draw types in 2024 included:

- General

- French language proficiency

- Healthcare occupations

- Agriculture and Agri-food occupations

- Transport occupations

- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) occupations


- CEC specific

Additionally, in 2024, Express Entry introduced category-based selection draws, allowing candidates qualifying in one of six categories to be invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence (PR) based on their inclusion. This new policy potentially diminishes the emphasis on Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores in these instances.

How do ITAs and Express Entry draws compare between the two years?

Comparing both years reveals significant contrasts. While 2023 witnessed fewer draws in the initial six months (13 compared to 19), more ITAs were issued during the same period last year (48,948 in 2023 compared to 41,855 in 2024).

The escalation in both draw frequency and types can be attributed to the introduction of category-based selection draws, initiated by Canada in late 2023. These new draw types likely influence the cut-off scores and sizes of general draws by altering the composition of the Express Entry pool.

Focusing solely on general draws between the two years, significant differences emerge:

- Frequency of general draws in 2023: 8

- Average general draw size in 2023: 5475 ITAs issued

- Average general draw cut-off score in 2023: 489

In contrast:

- Frequency of general draws in 2024: 9

- Average general draw size in 2024: 1605 ITAs issued

- Average general draw cut-off score in 2024: 536

Therefore, although Express Entry in 2024 conducted more draws in the first half of the year, the average draw size decreased, resulting in over 7,000 fewer invitations issued between January and June 2024. Additionally, the average CRS score cut-off (excluding category-based selection draws) in 2024 is nearly 50 points higher than that of general draws during the same period in 2023.

What can this information tell us about Express Entry's functioning for the remainder of 2024?

Express Entry in 2024 needs to account for a shortfall of 7,000 ITAs compared to the first six months of 2023.

This discrepancy gains significance when considering IRCC's immigration levels plan released last year, which allocated 110,770 spaces for Express Entry in 2024, up from 82,800 in 2023.

Given the six-month service standard for processing Express Entry applications, ITAs issued in the latter half of 2023 are likely to translate into landings in 2024, contributing to IRCC's targets. With a larger immigration goal in 2024, it's conceivable that IRCC will pursue more ITAs to meet this target. This, coupled with the observation that IRCC has issued 7,000 fewer ITAs in 2024 than in 2023, might result in more frequent draws or larger draw sizes for the remainder of 2024. However, this remains speculative.

While this information provides insights into ITAs, the number of ITAs IRCC will issue for the rest of the year remains uncertain.

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