Express Entry mid year report. Surprise…your best chance of immigrating to Canada is still to get a job first
Recently, the government of Canada released a mid-year report on its electronic immigration selection system called Express Entry. Transitioning to the new system where candidates compete against each other in a ranked computer system has certainly been confusing and frustrating to many international candidates.
Clearly, no one wants to apply into a black box. However, based on the recently released data, one thing is for certain. If you already have a job there is a drastically better chance of winning Canada’s immigration beauty contest.
As with any new system, it is very difficult to establish predictable patterns that may assist in future decision making. Realistically, if you were to question any immigration lawyer or consultant in Canada right now on your chances of being invited for permanent residency through the express entry system, the proper response would have to be ‘not sure.
Part of the reason for this lack of predictability has to do with the small sample size of the system to date. Even the government acknowledges that the system is in its early stages and that one off factors such as pre-existing applications and previous occupation caps are impacting the initial results.
However, the more destabilizing issue is the unpredictable nature of the ranking system selection algorithm in any given month. Express Entry is a dynamic system that changes every day based upon employer demands, constantly changing labour needs, and the relative profiles of the people who enter and exit the system each day.
For example, on January 31, 2015 the cutoff for invitation through Express Entry was 886 points. On April 17, 2015 it fell down to 453 points. In the next round held on May 22, 2015, the cut off jumped up again to 755 points. Now, if anyone other than the magicians holding the key to the government database can tell you how or why system is jumping around in the manner that it is, then please tell them to buy you a lottery ticket!
Yet, in all this uncertainty there is still one data point to be aware of when thinking of finding a job and immigrating to Canada. As before, getting a job is a huge predictor of success in winning the Express Entry immigration beauty contest. In fact, in the initial months of the system it was a pre-requisite. As the government declared, “Almost all candidates invited in the first four invitation rounds had job offers supported by LMIAs.” Additionally, “With 600 points for a job offer they became top-ranked candidates.”
Admittedly, starting in March, the system was eased to allow people without pre-existing job offers to enter into Canada as permanent residents. However, in the first round where people without existing job offers were finally selected by the system, 75% of the invitations issued in that month were still to candidates with existing job offers. As of July 6, 2015, 70% of all invitations issued were to candidates with pre-existing job offers.
The other interesting thing about the Express Entry system is how few people are actually being admitted into the country through the system. As of July 6, 2015, of the 112,701 international candidates submitting applications into the Express Entry system, only 655 people have been approved to enter Canada as permanent residents. While another 5,835 people invited to Canada with permanent residency still have applications in progress, the fact remains that only 411 principals and dependants have entered into the country through Express Entry as of July 6, 2015.
Does this mean that it has become nearly impossible to enter into Canada? The answer is most certainly no. What it does mean is that the alternative methods of entry into Canada such as the temporary foreign worker program, requiring you to find a pre-existing job, are still by the numbers the most predominant channels of immigration for international candidates.
Additionally, even if you decide that Express Entry and the allure of permanent residency is how you want to come to Canada, having a job lined up before you put yourself into the system is almost a pre-requisite.
Either way, the reality remains that these days, if you want to start a new life in Canada, you need to start looking for a job as soon as possible.