Canada’s Express Entry system had several surprises in 2019, which kept everyone, including candidates and observers, guessing. Besides falling short of the previous year’s record results, this main immigration pathway for highly skilled international workers attracted 85, 300 applicants to the Canadian permanent residence (ITAs).

The number was the second -highest invitation total since the introduction of the Express Entry system in 2015. Canada has three Federal High-Skilled immigration programs; Federal Skilled Trades Class, Canadian Experience Class and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

A total of 26 draws from the Express Entry pool were held by the country’s federal immigration ministry, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), with 24 of them being from the Express Entry-managed programs ranging from 3,200 to 3,900 ITAs.

The number of ITAs under the three categories in 2019 was expected to go over the 89,800 mark recorded in the previous year owing to Canada’s high admission targets for 2019 and 2020. Late issuance of invitations in 2018 is one possible explanation as to why fewer ITAs were recorded in 2019. The IRCC wanted to maintain its standard of processing, where Express Entry System applications receive permanent residency status for six months.

Draw sizes in 2019

The IRCC in 2019, deviated from the usual pattern which was responsible for an increment in the number of ITAs in every two to three months in 2018 from 2,750 to 3,900. In 2019, draw sizes were less predictable. Draw size in October 2019 rose briefly to 3,900 ITAs then dropped to 3,600 in November, while December had two rounds of invitations, each with 3,200 ITAs.

It is not clear about whether IRCC will revert to holding larger draws or more frequent ones in the new year to plug in its Express Entry-managed program admission needs for 2020 and 2021. Federal High-Skilled program’s permanent resident admissions target is expected to reach 85,800 in 2020 and 88,800 in 2021. Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program’s target is also expected to reach 67,800 in 2020 and 71,300 in 2021.

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