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Flashback to March 21st, 2024. The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship makes an announcement related to Temporary Resident levels in Canada. During his announcement, he casually states that the federal government will hold more domestic draws to help transition temporary residents to permanent residents. What's more, he is encouraging provinces and territories to do the same thing.

Those working in Canada immediately perk up. Is Minister Miller implying there will be a return of Express Entry Canadian Experience Class (CEC) draws? We need more information.

Key takeaways:

  • There has not been a CEC only draw since September 14th, 2021 which saw 2000 CEC applicants receive an Invitation To Apply, with a CRS cut off of 462.
  • CRS General draw cut offs for 2024 have been over 524, leaving many CEC applicants looking for alternative ways to stay in Canada.
  • If CEC draws do return, IRCC are going to have to up the number of invitations issued with each draw to bring the CRS cut off down to truly transition more Temporary Resident to permanent status.

Let’s take a deeper look.

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What are CEC draws?

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) draws are Express Entry draws that target only those candidates in the pool that qualify for the Canadian Experience Class program. In other words, it targets applicants who have at least 1 year in the last 3 years of skilled work experience in Canada.

In contrast, all-program or general draws select applicants who qualify for one of the 3 federal immigration programs that use the Express Entry system to select applicants. These are the Federal Skilled Worker, the Canadian Experience Class and the Federal Skilled Trade program.

Now we can’t forget about category-based draws. Category-based draws target applicants based on their prior work experience or French language proficiency, irrespective of the immigration program they qualify for.

Since September 2021, IRCC seem to have abandoned CEC only draws, instead focusing on general draws, PNP draws, and now Category-based draws

What would a return of CEC draws mean to those waiting in the pool?

Now before you get too excited, let’s take a look at what a return of CEC draws could look like in terms of CRS cut-off. 

For this, we are going to focus on the CRS trend of general draws. The last general draw on March 25th 2024 had a CRS cut-off of 524 points, the lowest cut-off this year. Because this was a general draw, applicants applying from all 3 immigration programs could receive an Invitation to apply (an ITA).

The reality though, most of those selected from the pool with a CRS of over 524 would likely have at least 1 year of Canadian work experience. This means that if IRCC were to swap general draws with CEC draws, we wouldn’t notice much of a difference in CRS cut off. 

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What needs to be done to drive the CRS cut off down for CEC draws?

To see a real drop in CRS cut off in a CEC draw, IRCC would need to substantially up the number of invitations they issue with each draw. So rather than issuing 1980 invitations, like they did in the last general draw, they would likely need to double this to bring the CRS score down.

Consider the current composition of the Express Entry pool. Over 40,000 applicants have a CRS of over 471. 

Compare that to the CRS score of an international student in Canada who graduated from a bachelors program in Canada and has just completed 1 year of CEC. With high English proficiency, their CRS score (around 462) would still not be high enough to compete with the 40,000  applicants in the pool scoring over 471. Granted, these 40,000 applicants will account for some with no CEC but still, the majority of those with a CRS exceeding 471 will have some CEC.

It would not be unheard of for IRCC to issue more invites during a CEC only draw. Back in June 2021, IRCC invited 6,000 CEC applicants in one round. If we go back to those numbers, we will see a drop in CRS.

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What about those who have CEC experience but have a low CRS score?

If you are worried your CRS score is still too low to be considered for future CEC draws, look for Provincial Nominee Programs.

Domestic draws are going to be a focus on a federal and provincial level. This means that even if your CRS is not competitive in the federal landscape, you still have a chance with PNPs. Provincial Nominee Programs have been one of the biggest contributors to economic migrants in Canada in recent years, and this year, we expect to see around 110,000 permanent residents come to Canada through this program. 

80% of provincial nominees in provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, and British Columbia have prior work experience in Canada. This number may rise with their 2024 allocation. 

What would a return of CEC draws mean to applicants with no Canadian work experience?

If IRCC shifts their focus to domestic draws (aka CEC draws), overseas applicants with no Canadian work experience may feel the pinch. Those who qualify for category-based selection have less to worry about, although they too may see fewer applicants selected with each draw which in turn will increase the CRS cut off.

If you have no CEC and are patiently waiting in the Express Entry pool, now is the time to consider your Provincial Nominee Program options (if you haven’t already). 

Alternatively, securing employment in Canada, although easier said than done, is a great way to boost your CRS points.

Whatever the roll out of domestic draws looks like, Moving2Canada is here to guide you on your journey to settle in Canada. Be sure to follow us as we watch this story unfold. You can register a free account with us to receive news like this as it happens. 

Citation "Are Canadian Experience Class draws set to make a comeback?." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation

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