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IRCC Invites 7,000 Express Entry Candidates in Category-Based Draw

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has recently conducted an Express Entry draw, inviting 7,000 candidates who demonstrated proficiency in the French language. This draw, based on category selection, required candidates to achieve a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 365, marking the lowest CRS requirement of the year thus far.


Draw Type

Number of ITAs

Minimum CRS

February 1

French language proficiency



January 31




January 23




January 10




Changes to Post Graduation Work Permits

Many candidates within the Express Entry system gain work experience through employment in Canada following their graduation from a Canadian post-secondary institution. Among the most common work permits for recent graduates is the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

On January 22, IRCC announced adjustments to the eligibility criteria for PGWPs. Effective September 1, international students enrolled in programs at private colleges under curriculum licensing agreements with public colleges will no longer be eligible for PGWPs.

Additionally, graduate-level students in programs shorter than eight months will now qualify for a three-year PGWP. Presently, graduates are ineligible for a PGWP if their program is shorter than eight months, and the permit's validity is tied to the duration of the graduate’s academic program. For example, a one-year program would correspond to a one-year permit.

These changes aim to enable more graduate-level students to gain sufficient work experience in Canada, enhancing their eligibility for inclusion in the Express Entry application pool.

Understanding Express Entry

The Express Entry system oversees applications from three primary economic immigration programs in Canada: the Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

Candidates within these programs are assessed using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which evaluates various factors including work experience, education, age, occupation, and language proficiency. For instance, candidates aged between 20-29 receive 100 CRS points, with diminishing points allocated to older age groups.

In May 2023, IRCC announced the introduction of category-based selection draws for Express Entry candidates demonstrating work experience in high-demand occupations. One such category is for candidates exhibiting strong proficiency in the French language, while the remaining five categories are occupation-based, covering healthcare, STEM professions, trades, transport, and agriculture and agri-food occupations.

The process of applying for Express Entry involves several steps. Initially, applicants must self-assess their eligibility for a specific Express Entry program, each with distinct criteria. Subsequently, candidates create a profile in the Express Entry pool and receive a CRS score. Following this, candidates await an invitation to apply (ITA) in an Express Entry draw.

Upon receiving an ITA, candidates have 60 days to compile their documents and submit their final application for permanent residence to IRCC.

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