Feb 16 2021

Unprecedented Express Entry Draw


At a Glance

  • On February 13, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada invited an unprecedented number of candidates from the Canadian Experience Class pool to apply for permanent residence.
  • The Canadian Experience Class is for skilled workers who have at least one year of Canadian work experience.
  • This draw was approximately six times as large as any other previous draw - in any category - and appears to be a first step in the federal government’s plan to meet the targets of its 2021-2023 Immigrations Level Plan (401,000 in 2021, 411,000 in 2022 and 421, 000 in 2023).

The situation

On February 13, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada invited the largest number of candidates ever, at 27,322, to apply for permanent residence. All invites were sent to those candidates in the Canadian Experience Class pool, who had a minimum score of 75. Normally, the required score was over 450, and the number of Invitations to Apply (ITAs) was between 3,000 to 4,500 per draw.

A closer look

  • Lowest Comprehensive Ranking System scores. To be invited to apply for permanent residence under the latest draw, the Canadian government only required foreign nationals to have a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score (the number of points granted to an applicant based on experience, education and language skills, among others) of 75 in the Canadian Experience Class pool.
  • Up-to-date processing. With this latest draw, the government has reviewed all Canadian Experience Class applications that were pending as of February 13, 2021.



Many more foreign nationals will be able to apply for permanent residence than would normally be able to after this Express Entry draw, although they may have lesser qualifications than under previous draws. This could cause a backlog in the immediate term as applicants have 90 days to submit their application from the date of invitation.


Since far fewer foreign nationals have immigrated to Canada since the COVID-19 pandemic began almost a year ago, Canada did not reach its immigration target last year. As a result, the government has significantly increased its immigration targets this year and for the next two years.  This draw helps to put the federal government on track to meet this year’s goal – if similar-sized draws occur in this and the other permanent residence categories.

Looking ahead

Fragomen expects that there will be further draws of this size throughout the year as the federal government seeks to meet its annual target of 400,000+ new permanent residents.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].