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Stunning ITA Round February 13, 2021

Posted on 14/02/2021

The latest round of invitations to apply (ITAs) from IRCC is simply stunning. Here are the numbers:

  • 27,332 ITAs were issued.
  • The round occurred on Saturday February 13, 2021.
  • The CRS score of the lowest-ranking candidate was a mere 75.
  • The candidates were in the Canadian Experience Class stream (CEC).

Simply put, this shows how desperate Canada is for skilled workers to help keep our economy running smoothly. Despite the pandemic, despite the fact that previous rounds may have been smaller than usual, given the once-in-a-century conditions that appeared in 2020, IRCC has more than compensated for all of this with this latest round of ITAs.

Canada means business when it comes to skilled immigration and clearly, Express Entry is the principal portal to permanent resident status in Canada. Yes, sponsorships are still key, but skilled workers from abroad are becoming the backbone of the Canadian economy.

Let’s dive into the numbers a little more. The following table shows what the competition among Express Entry candidates was like in the first half of February 2021:

First let’s look a little more closely at the numbers for the candidate pool:

CRS Score Number of Candidates Percentage of Total Candidates
Over 500 1,630 candidates 1%
Over 450 27,807 18%
Over 400 75,538 49.46%
Over 350 124,123 81.28%
Over 300 149,420 97.84%
0-300 3,294 2.16%


There are a few things to notice about these numbers:

  • The overwhelming majority of candidates – slightly over 96% of them – have CRS scores between 300 and 500.
  • If you score over 500, you are in very good shape. However, if you score below 300 the odds are against you – but you still may just get an ITA as happened in this round.
  • A CRS score of 400 appears to be a tipping point for candidates placing them in the top half of their pool. Threshold scores over the years have often been around 450 CRS points. However, this may change with increased immigration levels over the next few years as we explain below.
  • Remember, this is for CEC participants – Canadian Experience Class – which requires candidates to have gained at least 1 year of full-time work experience in Canada on a valid work permit during the last 3 years. CRS point levels for other streams – like the Federal Skilled Trades for example – may have somewhat lower average CRS scores.

How to improve the odds of getting an ITA (Invitation to Apply for permanent resident status)

  • Do nothing and wait for the threshold CRS to drop for some future Round of Invitations. This is a passive strategy which will probably not work out for you. However, if your CRS isn’t too far below the latest thresholds, it may possibly prove a winning strategy.
  • Get busy and take specific steps to improve your score including the following:
    • Take courses to improve your official language skills and then retake your IELTS or CELPIP test to improve your score.
    • Try to acquire further job skills by obtaining certifications or employment that develops those skills or adds new ones.
    • Obtain a diploma, certification, or degree that adds to your educational score.
    • Look for opportunities for a temporary work permit to gain employment experience in Canada. You may have to return to your home country once that job is finished and apply to Express Entry from abroad again, but by having worked temporarily in Canada you will have added valuable local job experience to your resume and will have boosted your CRS score.
    • Stay informed about PNPs (Provincial Nominee Programs) that can gain you 600 points and greatly boost your odds of an ITA.
  • Keep in mind that Canada’s immigration goals announced last year are for around 400,000 new immigrants per year with around 110,000 a year coming from Express Entry. CRS threshold scores will drop from time to time to ensure that sufficient skilled workers have the opportunity to come and live and work in Canada.
    • Remember, don’t depend on this final fact. Use it to keep your focus and energy when things seem a little too challenging. And be active and do what you can to upgrade your CRS Score while you wait for your ITA.

Posted in News Tips and tagged Canadian Experience Class, Express Entry, Invitation to Apply (ITA)

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