An eventful discussion took place on 16th February 2022 between Federal Minister Sean Fraser and the CEO of the Business Council of Canada, Goldy Hyder. The spotlight of this discussion was resumption of the Express Entry draws for candidates qualifying under Canada Experience Class Program.
Although no fixed announcements have been made yet as to when the CEC draws would recommence, efforts are being made by the Immigration Department to make the Express Entry system more flexible. In accordance with the immigration levels plan announced a few days ago, draws for federal skilled workers would be resumed soon since a record number of federal skilled workers, including through the Canadian Experience Class, would be entering Canada in the upcoming years.
Changes are being made to make the express entry more flexible as this would help to acknowledge and make provisions for the short-term needs including welcoming people into smaller communities, sectors in high demand, and for people coming from regions that have educational institutions to train workers in strategically important sectors.
As mentioned in Sear Fraser’s earlier mandate letter, priority will be given to expand pathways to permanent residence for international students and temporary foreign workers via the Express Entry system. Occupation-specific Express Entry draws could also be a possibility in the future.
The Express Entry System
Express Entry is an electronic system used to manage the applications of skilled workers who wish to become permanent residents of Canada. An applicant needs to be eligible for at least one of the three programs: Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Program, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program to be considered for the Provincial Nominee Program. The eligibility of a candidate largely depends on their age, education, work experience, language skills, as well as other factors. A points-based system known as the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is used to grade an applicant, and the highest-scoring candidates are invited to apply for immigration.
Since September 2021, Canada has only been inviting PNP candidates to apply through the Express Entry system. The unprecedented situations during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a temporary pause in CEC, FSWP, and FSTP draws. As of February 1, around 64,890 FSWP and CEC candidates are waiting for their decisions.
According to the 2022-2024 immigration levels plan, there will be fewer Express Entry immigrants this year to make room for the backlog. Excluding the PNP candidates, Canada plans to admit 55,900 immigrants through Express Entry in 2022, whereas by 2024, Canada is expecting to welcome a record number of 111,500 immigrants through Express Entry.
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