On April 13, Canada invited 787 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence.
All invited candidates had previously received a nomination from a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and had a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) of at least 782. The minimum score was relatively high because Express Entry candidates get an automatic 600 points added to their score when they receive a provincial nomination. Without the nomination, the lowest-scoring candidates would have had 182 base points.
In the previous invitation round, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) invited 919 PNP candidates with scores of at least 785.
In the first quarter of 2022, Canada only invited 6,470 Express Entry candidates to apply for immigration. It was the slowest first quarter since Express Entry launched in 2015.
The drop in invitations overall is the result of IRCC only inviting PNP candidates since September 2021, when draws for Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates ceased. There have also been no draws for Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) candidates since December 2020.
Before the pandemic, most draws were not program-specific, meaning candidates from any Express Entry-managed program could be invited to apply.
However, as a result of COVID-19-related travel restrictions, Canada decided to focus on meeting its record-breaking immigration targets by transitioning high numbers of temporary residents to permanent residents. This strategy led the number of Express Entry applications to pile up, especially FSWP applications which were oftentimes from overseas applicants. The backlog caused processing times to far exceed the processing standard of six months.
Internal briefing memos later revealed that IRCC decided to pause Express Entry draws for non-PNP programs until the backlog was cut in half, and processing standards were back to six months. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has suggested draws for skilled workers could resume as early as this spring, but has not confirmed a date.
Express Entry is the application management system for Canada’s three most popular 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 at least 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.
After the candidate applies, an IRCC officer reviews the application and makes a decision. The officer 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 been invited in the new Express Entry draw.
Chloe is 39, holds a bachelor’s degree and has been working as a construction manager for six years. She has an advanced English language proficiency and has never worked or studied in Canada. She entered the Express Entry pool with a CRS score of 386. Chloe recently received a provincial nomination. Her new CRS score of 986 would have been high enough to get an ITA in the new Express Entry draw.
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