The flattening of the coronavirus curve in Canada overall, as well as the incremental reopening of the Canadian economy, points to the possibility of lifting travel restrictions on schedule. The Canada-U.S. border could open on June 21. Travellers from other countries could start to come back after June 30.
Though the question of the border reopening is at the forefront of many people’s minds, there are more developments out of Canada’s immigration department, Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), and language testing centres to also watch out for.
There could be four Express Entry draws this month.
Since Canada temporarily closed its border to most foreign travellers on March 18, Express Entry draw dates have become more unpredictable than they were earlier this year.
All program draws, which included candidates from the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), were typically held every two weeks on Wednesdays.
Since travel restrictions were implemented, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has been holding draws inviting CEC and PNP candidates only to apply for permanent residence.
The trend has seen Canada hold an Express Entry draw targeting PNP recipients, and then a second draw for CEC candidates.
The two draws have been happening in pairs about every two weeks apart.
Canada aims to welcome global talent from all over the world and hence, it will eventually resume draws for FSWP and FSTP candidates. If travel restrictions are lifted, we could see this happen sooner, rather than later.
PNPs and Quebec
Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draws are typically difficult to predict as they often respond to the interest of immigration candidates as well as the province’s individual labour market needs.
This is not the case for B.C, however. The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) holds Tech Pilot draws practically every week. Two years ago B.C.’s Tech pilot was extended until June 2020. The province is expected to release details on the future of the pilot this month. It also held two draws on June 2nd.
The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) seems to hold draws about once per month, but the provinces does not usually make the details public until some time after the fact. The last reported Alberta Express Entry Stream draw took place on May 13.
Before travel restrictions went into place, the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) was holding draws about twice per month this year. The most recent draw took place last week on May 28.
Ontario hands out the most provincial nominations of any province given it is Canada’s largest jurisdiction. So far this year the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) has held ten draws, the latest round was held on June 3rd.
Quebec does not have a PNP, but it does operate its own immigration system. The province is going to be adding requirements to its popular Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) “within the coming weeks”, according to its immigration minister. They are also talking about introducing two new pilot immigration programs for nurses aides and tech workers.
More language testing centres scheduled to re-open
The closure of CELPIP and IELTS testing centres has been a hurdle for people wanting to immigrate or study in Canada. However, more test centres are re-opening which will enable more individuals to submit Express Entry profiles and immigration applications.
CELPIP testing is available in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, and Hong Kong, according to their webpage. Some other locations are scheduled to start opening later this month.
The IELTS webpage lists the locations around the world that are currently running tests. They also report that some countries will start opening up centres this month.
Both CELPIP and IELTS could resume operations in major markets such as India within the coming days.
Renewal of Open Work Permit Pilot for spouses and common-law partners
Canada is set to announce whether or not the Open Work Permit Pilot will be renewed for the fifth time.
This open work permit allows foreign national spouses or common-law partners of Canadians to work while their application for permanent residence is being processed.
The deadline for Canada to announce the pilot program’s renewal is July 31.
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