The state of the Express Entry pool: March 2024

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March witnessed another series of Express Entry draws, showcasing Canada’s ongoing efforts to invite candidates to apply for permanent residence (PR).

Several trends persisted in last month’s draws, offering insights into potential trajectories for Express Entry throughout the year.

How does the composition of the Express Entry candidate pool influence score cut-offs and draw sizes?

Understanding how the composition of the Express Entry pool influences Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score cut-offs and draw sizes can be challenging. However, several fundamental trends can be identified

Distribution of scores and CRS cut-offs

The distribution of current scores within the Express Entry pool is indeed a crucial factor that can influence the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score cut-offs of upcoming draws.

The distribution of CRS scores within the pool assists IRCC in determining the appropriate cut-off score for qualified candidates in the next draw, as well as the size of each draw.

While other factors such as labor market needs or special immigration policies may also play a role in decision-making, the distribution of CRS scores within the pool can still be a contributing factor. It serves as a key indicator of how well-suited immigration candidates are within the pool.

Category-based draws also impact this distribution

In addition to standard draws based on Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) conducts category-based draws for Express Entry candidates. These draws target individuals with specific professional experience or language ability, rather than solely relying on CRS scores, to address labor market and demographic needs in Canada.

Although these draws consider factors beyond CRS scores, they still influence the distribution of scores in the Express Entry pool when inviting candidates. Therefore, paying attention to these draws in analysis can be beneficial

What Express Entry draws occurred in March?

In March, there were four Express Entry draws conducted.

Two of these draws were general draws, inviting candidates from all three Express Entry-managed programs who met the required CRS cut-off score. Cut-off scores have remained higher than last year, which is typical at the beginning of the year. Historically, cut-offs tend to decrease for general draws as the year progresses.

The other two draws were category-based selections for transport occupations and French language proficiency. These marked the first transport occupations draw and the third French language proficiency draw of the year. Interestingly, the federal Express Entry system has been inviting French-speaking candidates to apply for PR at a faster pace than Quebec’s immigration system. These draws featured some of the lowest CRS score cut-offs in Express Entry’s history.

The current state of the Express Entry pool—March 2024

The Express Entry candidate pool has grown slightly to a total of 211,944 profiles, representing an increase of approximately 700 profiles compared to the end of February. Score distributions have remained relatively stable, with minor adjustments reflecting variations in the number of candidates entering within specific score ranges.

What percentile is your score in the pool?

By utilizing the upper boundary of each score range, we can calculate the percentile of a score relative to the entire distribution of scores in the Express Entry candidate pool.

Percentiles provide insight into how a particular score ranks within the overall distribution. For instance, if an individual has a CRS score of 420, their percentile score would be 52.07%, indicating that their score surpasses that of 52.07% of the total scores in the pool.

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