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Merit Score Going Down in PNP and Express Entry Programs

Due to the ongoing corona pandemic, CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System) score for PNP and Express Entry programs for Canada immigration has hit a historic low number in 2021.

Some Important Data

  • As published in CIC news, “ The Government of Canada has issued 3,311 Invitations to Apply to Express Entry candidates through a program-specific draw held May 1, 2020.”
  • The ITA's were issued for candidates falling in the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). This was for Express Entry programs. The resulting score was 452. This has been the lowest score as compared to the CRS score of April 16, 2020. The latter being 455, which was three points higher than the May,1 score.
  • Earlier on March 4, 2020, an all-program draw was held. Around 3900 candidates received an Invitation to Apply (ITA). Here the minimum score was 471.
  • During the second week of May, the Canadian Government issued 589 ITAs for Express Entry candidates falling under PNP. 692 was the minimum CRS score for these candidates.
  • In June 2020 the CRS score for CEC programs was 431.
  • The historic low score has been 72, as seen in the draw held on 13 February 2021. The stakeholders first thought that IRCC has mistakenly issued the wrong data. But later it was confirmed that Canada has this year reached the shockingly low score.
  • Eventually, the score has gone down immensely.

Canadian Experience Class draw (CEC Draw) during the pandemic

On commencement of CEC draws in March 2020, the CRS scores lied in the range of 460 to 470. Due to the corona pandemic, the score went low to 431 in June 2020. After a long break, the CEC draw took place in January 2021. The scores counted up to 461. Later this year, the score went down to 454, which was still better as compared to the score of February 2021. The shocking score in Feb,21 was 75.

Provincial Nominee program Draw (PNP Draw)

The CRS score for the PNP draws has been unpredictable in the year 2021. Starting from January 2021 to March 2021 the minimum CRS scores have been 813, 714, 720, 739, 682 and 778 respectively in the six draws conducted within this period. Despite providing ease of entry the number has hit a recording-breaking low.

So, the question here is despite so many draws and ease of entry, the merit score is going down. Why?

Here are some reasons backing up the downfall.

1. COVID-19 – Due to the spread of the fatal coronavirus, several travel restrictions have been imposed on travellers entering Canada. Due to these restrictions, a large number of people are either not eligible or fail to travel if found to be infected with COVID-19. Moreover, people won’t be willing to send their family members away from themselves in this tough time. Therefore, the exit score faced a low number.

Based on a study, approximately, 90% of the CEC candidates who received an invitation were already residing in Canada with temporary status. So, they were supposed to follow any travel restrictions.

Moreover, the ferocious wave of COVID 19 started from March, 2020. Eventually, only those the permanent residents approved before March 2020 were allowed to travel to Canada but we’re subject to follow the COVID protocols and travel rules and regulation.

Hence, a large number of people would have been unable to fulfil the rules and regulation issued during the pandemic. This, the merit score has dropped to an unbelievable number.

2. Additional 600 points for Candidates of Express entry pool- Candidates who have already entered the express entry pool get an additional 600 points. Resultantly, if the cut-off score is 711, then an express entry pool candidate just need to score 111, as he/she has already gained 600 points.

How does Canada plan to resolve the falling number

To increase the number of immigrants, IRCC increased the frequency of program-specific invitation rounds. This took place from March 2020. Express Entry System is the major source of getting skilled foreign workers. Therefore, IRCC has been concentrating more on both Express Entry System and PNP.

In the first quarter of 2021, IRCC issued 44,124 ITAs. This has been the highest number of ITA’s issued in the first quarter of any year.

The Bottom Line

Until and unless, the world gets rid of the COVID 19 pandemic, the merit score will remain low. The travel restrictions and spread of the disease have imposed a limitation on immigration to Canada.