Express Entry is attracting the high-skilled candidates it was built to attract but improvements to the skills it targets may be necessary, says the official in charge of Canada’s main economic immigration application system. Patrick McEvenue, Director of Express Entry and Digital Policy with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), said his department will be undertaking an evaluation of Express Entry in the near future in order to understand both the system’s impact along with its strengths and potential areas for improvement.
Express Entry working ‘very well’
As is, McEvenue said the system is generally meeting the government’s expectations to attract highly skilled candidates with the education, language proficiency and work experience necessary for “long term success” in Canada.
There are now three times as many candidates with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) backgrounds in the Express Entry pool. McEvenue also pointed to improvements such as an application processing time of six months or less, the system’s overall transparency and the evolving links between Express Entry and Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program, which the government wants to expand on.
Express Entry pool:
McEvenue said the Express Entry pool is healthy and continues to grow. As of May 24, 2018, there were 83,111 candidates in the Express Entry pool. “We have a lot of people to choose from. In fact, we’d like to go deeper into our pool. We know how talented the people are below the cut-off scores,” he said.
Larger immigration targets may also help IRCC go deeper into the pool. Canada is slated to welcome close to one million people over the next three years through its Multi-Year Levels immigration plan introduced last fall. Each year between 2018 and 2020 will see year-over-year admission increases for Canada’s economic immigration programs, including a 20 per cent increase over the three years in the three managed by Express Entry — the Federal Skilled Worker Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Class and the Canadian Experience Class.If these increased admission targets result in larger draws, it could have the effect of lowering the minimum scores in Express Entry draws.
Future Improvements to Express Entry and the CRS
Along with increased targets, future changes to the system may also help different candidates succeed. A key focus of the upcoming Express Entry evaluation will be what McEvenue called “the changing nature of work” and how that could influence the kind of skills Express Entry’s Comprehensive Ranking System, or CRS, should be targeting. It’s one of the major things we’ll be thinking about this next year in the lead up to our evaluation.
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