Now that your profile has been submitted to the Express Entry pool, the next step involves waiting for draws (otherwise known as invitation rounds) to occur.

Express Entry draws typically occur once every other week on Wednesdays.

As an Express Entry candidate, it will be important for you to stay up-to-date on Express Entry draws as they occur so you can be in a position to react quickly.


Express Entry draws are not random like in a lottery. IRCC selects candidates with the highest CRS scores and invites them to apply for permanent residence.

What are Express Entry draws?

Express Entry draws are either:

  1. General: candidates who are eligible for any of the federal economic immigration programs managed by Express Entry are selected based on their CRS score.
  2. Program-specific: candidates are selected for one of the federal economic immigration programs managed by Express Entry (i.e. CEC or FSTP) based on their CRS score.

The draws are organized in a table that includes the following details:

  • The number identifying the draw (unique ID);
  • The date the invitation round took place;
  • The immigration program associated with the invitation round. This would indicate whether the draw is program-specific (some draws target CEC or FST candidates exclusively, while some are listed as "Non-specific", meaning candidates from all Express Entry programs were eligible); 
  • The number of invitations issued, representing the number of Express Entry candidates that were invited to apply for permanent residence; and
  • The CRS score of the lowest ranked candidate invited, representing the minimum required CRS score to receive an ITA.
  • The tie-breaking rule, which is based on the date and time a candidate submitted their profile

The "tie-breaking rule" explained

Many variables help determine what the CRS cut-off score will be, such as the government’s immigration targets, the time in between draws and the number of candidates in the Express Entry pool when an invitation round takes place. 

In the event of a tie for the lowest CRS score cut-off (given there are only a limited number of invitations that are issued each draw), the government uses something called a “tie-breaking rule” to select candidates.

To illustrate what the tie-breaking rule does, let’s use an example:

1. The latest Express Entry draw occurs.

2. 3500 ITAs are issued to the highest ranked candidates in the pool.

3. The minimum CRS score required is 350.

4. Because there are a limited number of ITAs issued in any given draw, some candidates who were able to achieve a CRS score of 350 won’t receive an ITA, while others will.

5. In the case of a CRS tie, the system will rank all tied candidates based on the date and time that they submitted their profile. The tie-breaking rule essentially prioritizes profiles that have been in the Express Entry pool for a longer period of time.

As a result of the tie-breaking rule, some candidates will not receive an ITA even though they have the minimum required CRS score for the latest draw that took place.

In this case, they have to wait for a future Express Entry draw to occur to be selected.