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Express Entry for skilled workers

Canada to resume Express Entry draws for skilled workers

Express Entry for skilled workers is coming back. Canada’s very popular Express Entry immigration system will return to normal soon. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser reassured Canada’s business community in February that more draws in the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) will be occurring.

There is no specific date of resumption yet, but Fraser said it will be “in the near term”.

In January 2022, Canada temporarily paused the issuance of invitations for skilled immigrants through the federal component of the Express Entry system. New high-skilled immigrants typically apply for PR via CEC. The component represents some 25% of annual newcomers.

Fraser also explained that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) does not plan to cancel and refund pending permanent residence applications in order to reduce its backlogs. There is speculation on social media that applications would be cancelled like IRCC did 10 years ago to reduce its backlog.

There are many reasons why Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) paused the Federal Skilled Worker Class and the Canadian Experience Class programs. IRCC remains under a huge application backlog as a result of the corona virus pandemic. See Canada faces over 1.8 million immigration applications backlog.

Why IRCC paused Express Entry for skilled workers

During the pandemic, CEC candidates received the most invitations. However, to reduce the backlog, IRCC for now holds only Express Entry draws for Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates.

IRCC focused on CEC candidates because they are likely already in Canada, and therefore, not impeded by travel and public health measures. The rationale for changing to PNP candidates is to focus on addressing labour market needs of the provinces and territories.

IRCC is also focusing on making the Express Entry system more flexible. For instance, Express Entry could address short-term immigration needs, such as welcoming people into smaller communities. It could also include short-term needs of sectors in high demand.

And according to Minister Fraser, Express Entry could also develop to facilitate targeted candidates. For example, it could aim at people and regions with education to train workers in strategically important sectors.

Fraser also noted that Express Entry may enhance to issue invitations based on occupational background and targeted labour needs. This is similar to the approach of Canada’s provincial immigrant nomination programs.

Fraser believes that such flexibility will enable Canada to respond in a more nimble way to opportunities and transformation.

The minister’s mandate letter also calls for expanding pathways to permanent residence for international students and temporary foreign workers through Express Entry.  The department is also to ensure that immigration better supports small- and medium-size communities through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot a permanent program, and the Municipal Nominee Program.

What is Canada Express Entry Immigration System?

Express Entry is the application system that Canada uses to manage skilled worker applications. It also is the most popular way to immigrate to Canada.

Express Entry draws for Canada permanent residence occur regularly, but approximately every two weeks.

In each draw, Canada issues qualified candidates from the Express Entry pool an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

IRCC approves your application and you complete the landing process. Thereafter, you are officially a Canadian permanent resident.

To enter the federal Express Entry pool, candidates must first create an Express Entry profile on IRCC website.

As well, you must meet the eligibility requirements for one of the three programs. These are: the Federal Skilled Worker Class; the Federal Skilled Trades Class; and the Canadian Experience Class.

You do not need a job offer to enter or be selected from the Express Entry pool. However, IRCC awards additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score points to those who already have a job.

Your CRS is a numerical value, out of a possible 1,200. It is generally determined by your core human capital. This is essentially your

  • age
  • work experience
  • educational background
  • ability to adapt, and as well as,
  • language skills

Importantly, only a limited number of candidates with the highest CRS points in the pool get Invitations to Apply (ITAs).

See also Eligibility for the Canadian Experience Class (Express Entry) – 2021 Guidelines