The federal government’s six-month report since it changed the intake process for permanent residence applications under economic programs is a wealth of data and underlines why prospective Canadians should seek experienced counsel, says Toronto immigration lawyer Andrew Carvajal.

Carvajal, a lawyer with Desloges Law Group, says this report is the first look at the details behind the numbers for Express Entry applications since it was launched in January, based on similar systems used in Australia and New Zealand.

“For example, we know now that in the first six months, to July 6, there were 112,701 profiles completed,” he tells “But 48,723 or 43 per cent were ineligible off the top. This means that close to half of all people uploading a profile are having difficulties navigating the system and either don’t know if they are eligible or are making mistakes in completing their profiles.”

Some 6,441 profiles were withdrawn and 4,302 are still pending — waiting for a Job Bank registration or PN validation — while 12,017 were invited to take the next step in the process and apply for permanent residence, leaving some 41,218 still active in the pool.

Applicants are assessed a score based on their prowess in English or French, education, age and work experience. The maximum score is 1,200 but the Bell Curve for eligible applicants settles between 300 and 499, with the sweet spot between 300 and 400. 600 points are reserved for applicants who have a job offer approved by the government or a nomination from a province or territory.

“This means if we have a client who scores above 450, they will have good chances to be invited while under 350 is more problematic,” he says.

Carvajal says another interesting finding is a number that the report does not actually disclose. He notes that of the 7,528 applications for permanent residence received under the online system, 5,835 remain in progress and 655 have been approved. This appears to suggest that over 1,000 applications have been refused, which is a higher number than the approval rate.

“If the refusal rates are that high, then those submitting applications are certainly making mistakes in declaring their information or documenting their applications properly," he says. "This is where they would greatly benefit from having counsel by their side."   

Other takeaways are that some 85 per cent of invitees were already in Canada when they applied for permanent residence.

This is consistent with Carvajal's own practice's experience, noting that many clients who have received an invitation have some Canadian work experience, which boosts their score.

Also, he says, the two biggest countries of citizenship, accounting for 40 per cent of invitees, were India and Philippines.

“I think that’s interesting because a lot of people suggested when the intake process changed that it would be biased towards predominantly English-speaking countries, but I don’t think the numbers show that. Instead, they show similar patterns that we observed before Express Entry,” he says.


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