IRCC Seeks to Resume Express Entry Draw For CEC and FSWP

IRCC Seeks to Resume Express Entry Draw For CEC and FSWP
Recently, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser stated that the immigration department was peeking to restart the Express Entry draw for skilled workers in the spring of 2022.In an interview with ApplyBoard , Fraser answered several questions about some issues relating to international students. Also, one of the minister’s mandates is to create pathways to PR for international students and temporary foreign workers. Moreover, the minister addressed questions on when the Express Entry draw for Federal High Skilled workers would resume. This category includes candidates under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program. Once again, Fraser said that there is no official announcement, but IRCC is looking to restart FSWP “sometime this spring.”Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) hasn’t held Express Entry draw invitations for Federal Skilled Workers (FSW) candidates since December 2020. Furthermore, Canadian Experience Class (CEC) draws have also paused since September 2021. So then, Express Entry candidates who could be eligible haven’t been able to apply under the Express Entry system. Fraser also recognized that some people are working in Canada on a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), which can be close to expiring. Therefore, without an Invitation to Apply (ITA), they cannot apply for immigration. Consequently, they won’t be eligible for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP), which will allow them to stay and work in Canada beyond the validity of their PGWP. It means that, at the end of their validity, PGWP holders need to quit their jobs, get a different work permit or even go back to their countries.Fraser said, “We’re looking at different options right now to ensure we don’t lose out on talent”. “We will have much more to say on this in the weeks and months ahead.” 
Express Entry Draw
Express Entry Draw

CEC Express Entry Draw Paused Since Last Fall

In 2021, IRCC invited a record number of CEC candidates. In fact, in February 2021, IRCC invited all the candidates under the CEC in the Express Entry pool. After that, IRCC held CEC invitations every two weeks in the following months until September, when they paused the program.Why did they pause the CEC invitation? Like what happened to FSWP candidates, the number of CEC candidates was too high, and IRCC could not meet the processing times. Therefore, they decided to pause and allow the officers to process the applications. According to IRCC, the processing time for CEC is about seven months. 

 FSWP Express Entry Draw Paused Since 2020

FSWP candidates were invited to apply for permanent residence more than any other Express Entry program before the pandemic. As a result, it was one of the highest numbers in the Express Entry pool.However, Canada closed its borders to international travel with few exemptions with the pandemic in 2020. Then, applicants who were approved to immigrate from any country outside Canada and the U.S. were not allowed to complete their permanent residency landing.Therefore, as long as FSWP candidates are often overseas, approving them for PR would produce a situation where applicants wouldn’t be able to complete their landing. However, IRCC needed to meet its immigration goals, that’s why it focused its efforts on inviting many applicants who were already in Canada. To do it, they created the Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence (TR to PR) pathway and held large Express Entry draw rounds for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).Regardless of this great effort, this approach led to a backlog in immigration applications. The number of FSWP and CEC applications expanded so much that the department couldn’t meet the processing times of six months. In fact, the processing time for FSWP is expected to rise in 2022.

Express Entry Draw Status in 2022

Currently, Canada holds Express Entry draw for Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) every two weeks. These candidates are eligible under one of the Federal High Skilled programs, then they receive a provincial nomination, that gives them 600 CRS points and the chance to apply under a PNP-specific draw.Until now, these are the invitations rounds that have been happening every two weeks while IRCC handles the backlog in other programs.              
Express Entry Draw
Express Entry Draw

   

IRCC Needs to Restart FSWP and CEC  to Meet Targets of 2022

For IRCC to achieve the 2023 Express Entry targets set in the 2022-2024 Immigration Levels Plan, IRCC needs to issue ITA for CEC and FSWP candidates. IRCC should do it now because it often takes Express Entry candidates about one year to apply for permanent residency. Once they receive an ITA, they have 60 days to apply and then it takes them at least six months for the application to go through. Moreover, it is not a secret that international workers help recover the economy. Certainly, that’s another reason why IRCC will probably hold an FSWP or CEC Express Entry draw in the following months to address foreign workers losing status in Canada. Talking about that matter, Minister Fraser said in the interview, “I don’t want to see people—who have a job, who are making a contribution, who want to stay—to leave at the same time that I’m trying to cure the labour shortage by embracing immigration.”
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