Canada invited 746 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence on December 22.
Invited candidates had previously received a nomination through a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), adding 600 points to their base human capital score. As a result, the minimum cut-off for this draw was 720.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has only been holding PNP draws since September—this is now the eighth in a row. According to an internal briefing memo, IRCC has paused CEC invitations to catch up on its backlog. In the memo, the department has said it wants to cut Express Entry backlogs in half before it considers inviting candidates from other programs.
In the previous PNP draw, IRCC invited a record-breaking 1,032 PNP candidates to apply. The minimum score in that draw was 698.
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It has been one year since Canada held an Express Entry draw that includes candidates from all programs. IRCC has not invited Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) nor Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) candidates since December 23, 2020.
Throughout the year, IRCC has only held Express Entry draws that target candidates from the PNP and Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
The strategy was supposed to allow IRCC to focus on admitting immigration candidates who were likely already in the country. Candidates who were applying for Canadian immigration from abroad were not allowed to cross the border for the purpose of activating their permanent residency status until June.
However, an IRCC briefing note reveals that focusing on inland candidates, as well as creating the Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence (TR to PR) pathway created a large backlog of candidates.
While announcing that the Atlantic Immigration Pilot would become a permanent program in 2022, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said Canada would move back to admitting a mix of immigrants from both in Canada and abroad.
“I anticipate as we go forward we are going to have a healthy mix of people who are here with some experience in Canada now and other employees who may not yet be here that will come to Canada through a program such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, as the public health situation allows,” Fraser told reporters.
Since the start of the pandemic, Canada has held 35 PNP-specific Express Entry draws in which 19,563 candidates received invitations to apply for permanent residence. In the same timeframe, Canada has held 27 CEC draws that rendered 133,868 invitations. Since March 18, 2020, there have only been 11 draws inviting Express Entry candidates from all programs, including the FSWP.
In 2021, Canada has invited more Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence than it did last year. Part of this is due to the February 13 draw when Canada invited all 27,332 CEC candidates in the pool at once.
The cut-off scores have remained relatively high as IRCC has only been holding PNP draws. Due to their high scores, PNP candidates in the Express Entry pool are effectively guaranteed to at least receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence.
Express Entry is the application management system for Canada’s three main immigration programs: the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program. PNP candidates in the Express Entry pool have already qualified for one of these programs.
Express Entry uses a points-based system, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), to rank candidates’ profiles. The top-scoring candidates receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), and can then apply for permanent residency.
Next, an IRCC officer reviews their application and makes a decision. After that, they will ask for biometrics and may set up an interview or request more documents.
If the application is approved, IRCC issues a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR). Approved permanent residents can then complete the landing process. If they are outside Canada, they can access pre-arrival services to help them with the first steps for settling in Canada.
The following is a hypothetical example of someone who may have received an ITA in the new Express Entry draw.
Dhrumil is 39, holds a bachelor’s degree and has been working as a construction manager for six years. He has an advanced English language proficiency and has never worked or studied in Canada. Dhrumil entered the Express Entry pool with a CRS score of 386. He recently obtained a provincial nomination through Alberta’s Express Entry stream, which brought his score up to 986, high enough to obtain an ITA in the new Express Entry draw.
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