Canada’s immigration minister confirms Express Entry draws will return to normal this Wednesday

Edana Robitaille
Published: July 4, 2022

Canada's Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has just confirmed on Twitter that Express Entry draws for all programs will resume this Wednesday July 6 after a hiatus of over 18 months.

Draws for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) have been on hold since December 2020. Canadian Experience Class (CEC) draws were put on hold in September 2021.

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) implemented these holds after border closures and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic caused a backlog in the number of applications for permanent residence status.

This article aims to answer some of the questions that you may have about Canada’s Express Entry application management system.

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What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an application management system used by IRCC to select the candidates it feels are best suited to live and work in Canada.

They are considered economic immigrants, meaning they are in their core working age and will be able to economically establish themselves within Canada while contributing to the labour force and economy.

These candidates can generally expect a faster processing time than if they apply through other programs such as family sponsorship or as a refugee or humanitarian class immigrant.

How does Express Entry work?

The Express Entry system sets a baseline of eligibility for each of its programs and candidates must meet specific criteria to apply.

The first step is for a candidate to assess their own eligibility for an Express Entry program. If a candidate meets the eligibility criteria, they must then upload a profile on the IRCC website.

Once a profile is complete, IRCC will issue the candidate a score using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS considers factors such as occupation, work experience, education, and language and awards points accordingly.

Candidates with the highest scores are most likely to receive an invitation to apply (ITA).

Once a candidate receives an ITA, they have 60 days to submit their application for permanent residence. Beginning in July, IRCC aims to resume a pre-pandemic processing standard of six months.

What programs are part of Express Entry?

Express Entry has three separate programs designed for skilled candidates with different work experience, language and education requirements and NOC skills codes.

Federal Skilled Worker Program

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) is for skilled workers who have experience in occupations that fall under National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill codes 0, A or B. Candidates require:

  • At least one-year of full-time or equivalent paid work experience over the previous 10 years.
  • Language ability that is equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in English or French.
  • A Canadian educational credential (certificate, diploma, or degree) or foreign credential and an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report.
  • Demonstrate that they have adequate savings to support themselves and any dependents in Canada.
  • Obtain at least 67 out of 100 points on the FWSP grid which is based on factors such as age, education, work experience.

Federal Skilled Trades Program

The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) is exclusively for workers with experience in skilled trades. The eligibility criteria differs from FSWP in a few ways:

  • Candidates must have either two years of full-time work experience in their trade or have obtained an equivalent amount of part-time work over the previous five years.
  • They must have a fulltime, continuous job offer or a certificate of qualification from a Canadian authority.
  • A CLB, in English or French, of 5 for speaking and listening and 4 for reading and writing.

Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is designed for candidates who already have experience living and working in Canada.

  • Candidates must have one full year of skilled work experience within Canada in the past three years.
  • Language requirements can vary based on the candidates' NOC classification. Those whose profession falls under NOC 0 or A require a CLB of 7. Skilled trades professions, or those that fall under NOC B, need a CLB 5.
  • Candidates must plan to live and work outside of Quebec .

What is an all-program draw?

In an all-program draw, candidates are selected from the entire Express Entry pool regardless of the program they are eligible for. The only deciding factor is their CRS score.

Express Entry program draws during the pandemic were often limited to one program per draw.

How long does it take to get permanent residency via Express Entry?

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has recently confirmed that all new Express Entry applications will be processed within six months. This means that after a candidate has received an ITA and submitted their application, they will not wait more than six months to find out if they have been approved for permanent residence.

How many Express Entry immigrants will be admitted over the next three years?

According to the Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024, Canada will welcome over 110,000 new Express Entry immigrants and grant them status as permanent residents by 2024.

How will the TEER change impact Express Entry?

In November 2022, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will be implementing a revised system that overhauls the current NOC system.

Under NOC, there are five classification levels 0, A, B, C and D. The Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) system works similarly with each TEER representing a level of skills and experience for each occupation. There are six TEERS ranging from 0 (management occupations) down to five (Little work experience or formal education).

Under the TEER system 16 new occupations will be eligible for Express Entry and three have been removed.

How will Ministerial Instructions change Express Entry?

On June 24, the Canadian government passed a law that will allow IRCC to invite candidates based on in-demand criteria. Details are still forthcoming, but the federal government has said that they may consider factors such as occupations and certain language skills, when deciding which candidates will receive an ITA.

What can Express Entry candidates expect going forward?

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has announced large investments in modern technology and hiring additional staff to speed up the process. Prime Minister Trudeau recently announced a new task force that will be reviewing government services, such as immigration applications as well as passports to improve the standard and speed of services.

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