Canadian Immigration News

IRCC Changes Made to the Express Entry System in Budget 2021

2.25 minute read
"The Canadian government has subtly hinted at the possibility of a change in the Express Entry system in the budget for 2021. These changes will likely affect the selection process used to nominate applicants for permanent residency in the Express Entry system."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jun 19, 2021
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The Canadian government has subtly hinted at the possibility of a change in the Express Entry system in the budget for 2021. These changes will likely affect the selection process used to nominate applicants for permanent residency in the Express Entry system. 

This speculation is based on the wording used in the budget that suggests a possible overhaul of the Express Entry selection process. The budget suggests that the IRCC is considering making amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) to grant the Minister of IRCC the power to use Ministerial Instructions to nominate applicants for permanent residency who are best suited to meet the labour market needs. 

Launched in January 2015, the Express Entry system is one of the most popular and fastest ways to gain permanent residency in Canada. The Express Entry system manages applications for three federal economic immigration programs: Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trade Program (FSTP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC). Express Entry manages around a hundred thousand applications at any given time. 

Applicants with skills and experience relevant to the local labour market needs are nominated in periodic draws conducted by the government body of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) based on how well they are ranked by the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

How Are the Changes Expected to Affect the Express Entry System?

The wording in the 2021 Budget suggests that the focus of the selection process could shift from overall ranking to an applicant’s ability to meet the labour market shortages. However, this will also affect their rank. Therefore, the implemented change could be a combination of an applicant’s skills and experience and their rank in the Express Entry pool. Also, the shifted focus to the demands of the local labour market suggests that the type of profile being prioritized might change every draw.

This is a welcome change for applicants as they will be able to depend on their work experience and skills rather than just their rank in the Express Entry system. It is still too early to say exactly how the IRCC plans to select applicants based on suitability to meet labour market shortages. It will still likely depend on the applicant’s work experience and how their occupation is classified on the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system.

The budget for 2021 affects the Canadian Immigration Levels Plan for 2021-23, therefore, the new change in the Express Entry system will likely be finalized in the next 2 years. However, it is unlikely that a new selection process will be implemented in the middle of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Given the border control and travel restrictions that have already made it difficult to nominate overseas applicants, it is expected that the IRCC will wait until things return to some semblance of normal before implementing new changes.

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