Canadian Immigration's new Express Entry system a slow starter

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Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) says that less than 50 percent of immigrants coming into the country this year will be selected through its much-anticipated Express Entry system. The new system, introduced by Canada's Conservative government, promised to match skilled economic migrants with the needs of employers.

Since the launch of the Express Entry on January 1, 2015, just over 6,850 prospective or approximately 2,300 immigrants per month, have been invited to lodge an application for permanent residency. It won't be until 2017 that a majority of immigrants are processed through the new system.

Immigration levels plan

As part of its 2015 immigration levels plan, CIC had committed to accepting between 260,000 and 285,000 new permanent residents, around two-thirds of which would be economic migrants.

In order for the government to get anywhere near this target they would need to be admitting close to 22,500 immigrants per month. The majority of new immigrant arrivals this year will have to be chosen through the old system, which has faced criticism because of slow processing times.

CIC spokeswoman, Johanne Nadeau said: "CIC is in a period of transition with recent implementation of Express Entry that will span approximately two years. A majority of economic immigrants arriving in 2015 will be drawn from the pool of people who applied to enter Canada in the years before Express Entry was introduced."

It is expected that the number of permanent residents coming through the system will rise in 2016 to around 50% of admissions. By 2017, CIC expects that the majority, if not all economic immigrant based entry will be via the Express Entry system.

Express Entry immigration requirements

Under the new system, candidates in the economic streams are pooled with other applicants for initial assessment. Each candidate is graded on factors such as age, education and work skills and then given a score out of 1,200 according to Canada's Ranking System formula. The ranking formula scores single candidates and candidates with spouses in the following ways:

Single Candidates

  1. Skills & experience (Maximum 500 points).
  2. Skill transferability (Maximum 100 points).
  3. Additional points (Maximum 600 points).

Maximum points 1,200

Spouses or Common-Law Partners of Candidates

  1. Skills & experience (Maximum 460 points)
  2. Spouse of common-law partner factors (Maximum 40 points)
  3. Skill transferability (Maximum 100 points)
  4. Additional points (Maximum 600 points)

Maximum points 1,200

Every three weeks, a cut-off score is chosen by the CIC and those who are above that score are invited to become permanent residents in Canada.

CIC anticipates that there will be between 15 and 25 of these rounds this year. Candidates with a Canadian employment offer, or those nominated by a provincial government, have a distinct advantage due to the way the criteria is weighted.

The number of points needed for admission has dropped by almost half from 900 in early January to 453 by late March. As the number of points required has decreased the number of invitations issued has increased.

Until recently, all of the applicants chosen for Express Entry had job offers or were nominated by a provincial government. However, the last two rounds have seen candidates selected with neither a job offer nor nomination, which has made it easier for applicants.