One of the most popular pathways for newcomers who wish to seek a new life in Canada is the Express Entry. This is because it is the fastest way to acquire permanent residence in Canada. Through an online system, applications for permanent residency of skilled workers are managed.
Status of Express Entry Candidates
On December 22, 2021, Canada invited 746 candidates to apply for permanent residency. Previous nominations of invited candidates were received through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). This adds 600 points to the base human capital score, making this draw’s minimum cut-off at 720 points.
Why the Focus on PNP Draws?
Since September, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has only held PNP draws. The latest draw is now the eighth consecutive PNP draw.
CEC invitations have been paused in favour of PNP draws, according to an internal briefing memo. This is to allow the IRCC to focus on cutting down the Express Entry backlogs by half before even considering inviting candidates from other programs.
A Year Without All-Program Draws
Since December 23, 2020, Canada has not invited candidates for Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). This means there have not been any all-program draws in the past year.
Throughout the year, IRCC has held only two Express Entry draws. The first targeted candidates from the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and the second targeted candidates from the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
The IRCC focused on passing its candidate screening process — the first step in the Canadian immigration process — to admit the people who were already in the country. Those who had applied to immigrate to Canada from other countries could not cross the border to activate their permanent residency status until June.
However, what came out of this strategy was the opposite of the desired results. According to an IRCC briefing note, redirecting the focus to the inland candidates only created a larger backlog.
Express Entry Draws During the Pandemic
Since the pandemic, Canada has held 35 draws for Permanent Residence under the PNP specifically for refugees, and these 35 draws have brought in 19,563 refugee applicants. Canada has held 27 draws for permanent residence under the CEC; these draws have generated 133,868 applicants. In the past year and a half, from March 18, 2020, to September 22, 2021, only 11 draws have been held for all immigration categories, including those under the FSWP.
In 2021, Canada invited more candidates who applied for permanent residence under Express Entry than the previous year. In mid-February, it invited nearly 28,000 candidates who had already expressed their interest in immigrating to Canada to apply, a new record.
Canada has paused the nominations of candidates from FSWP and FSTP to focus on the backlog of applications for permanent residency. In the past year and a half, this has meant that Canada has not held all-program draws. Instead, Canada has held only PNP draws. Canada has seen the results of this strategy in the form of larger backlogs.
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