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An overview of Express Entry in 2020: A record-breaking year


Mohanad Moetaz - 01 January, 2021

An overview of Express Entry in 2020 A record breaking year min
An overview of Express Entry in 2020 A record breaking year min

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and Canada’s travel restrictions that came with it, 2020 was the biggest year in Express Entry’s history.

A total of 107,350 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) were issued to Express Entry candidates - the highest ever. To compare, the second largest Express Entry year, 2018, saw a total of 89,800 invitations issued. 

Express Entry is the application management system that the Canadian federal government uses to manage the applications through the three main economic class immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). 

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This year broke the record for both largest and smallest Express Entry draws ever. The smallest draw was held in April 15, where only 118 Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) immigration candidates were issued invitations to apply. 

Towards the end of the year, Canada started issuing 5,000 invitations to apply in Express Entry draws. This is the largest ever. This increase is likely an effort to reach next year’s immigration targets. Canada aims to welcome 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021. Many of those who receive ITAs towards the end of 2020, will likely become permanent residents in 2021.

Of the 401,000 new permanent residents Canada aims to welcome in 2021, a total of 108,500 will be through Express Entry. In 2019, Canada issued a total of 81,400 ITAs through Express Entry. That is 25,950 less ITAs than in 2020.

The day Canada announced its travel restrictions to help curb the spread of COVID-19, it held a PNP-only Express Entry draw, inviting a total of 668 candidates. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Canada’s immigration department, continued to hold alternate draws between PNP-only candidates, and CEC-only candidates. 

In July, Canada held its first all-program draw in months. In September, Canada continued its regular all-program draws. The number of ITAs climbed from 4,200 to a record-breaking 5,000 ITAs. 

Only one FSTP draw was held in 2020. A total of 250 skilled trades workers were invited on August 6.

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