2021 will be ending in just 2 months and the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is yet to hold an Express Entry draw for the applicants to the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). On October 21, the IRCC held a meeting with the association representing Canadian immigration lawyers and consultants. The conclusion came that the decision to resume Express Entry invitations for all applicants is yet to be made.
The IRCC is waiting for the federal cabinet to settle after the 2021 elections held in September. This year’s election was won by the Liberal Party of Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced the new cabinet on October 26.
Now, with a new cabinet in place, the IRCC will be able to move forward with new proposals with the approval of the new Immigration Minister of Canada, Sean Fraser. The decision to focus only on Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applicants throughout 2021 was approved by the previous immigration minister, Marco Mendicino.
What Is the Express Entry System?
The Express Entry system is the most popular and common way for skilled foreign workers to immigrate to Canada. The Express Entry system manages applications to the 3 federal economic programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
A majority of PNPs also have at least one immigration stream aligned with the Express Entry system. These are known as Enhanced PNPs. These streams allow the provinces to nominate eligible applicants in the Express Entry pool for provincial nomination.
Applicants in the Express Entry system receive a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on various factors including their age, language proficiency, education level, and work experience. The highest-ranking applicants receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.
How Were FSWP Applicants Affected During the Pandemic?
Before the pandemic, the IRCC held a majority of Express Entry draws for FSWP applicants as they tended to have higher CRS scores compared to applicants to the FSTP and CEC. Since FSWP applicants have higher language proficiency requirements, are required to get their foreign educational credentials assessed, and have more work experience, they are considered more suitable for permanent residence.
However, with the onset of the pandemic, as travel and border restrictions were imposed all over the world, the IRCC shifted its focus on CEC and PNP applicants. As these applicants are already residing in Canada, they would face fewer disruptions in submitting their applications for permanent residence.