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Aashray Kansara

Aashray Kansara

IRCC is processing multiple applications per month as part of the Express Entry programme.

IRCC is processing multiple applications per month as part of the Express Entry programme.    Dec 22 2021

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) makes for 85 % of finalised Express Entry applications in 2021. As per the new IRCC data, the department has presently prioritised Express Entry applications.

The data gives the number of permanent residence applications submitted under Express Entry approved by IRCC.

Canada brings in economic class skilled immigrants primarily through Express Entry. Candidates meeting the Express Entry program criteria are eligible to submit their profile on IRCC’s website. Candidates get a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on human capital criteria like age, language skills, education, and work experience. 

IRCC requires the highest scoring candidates to apply for permanent residence approximately every two weeks. Then, these candidates get 60 days for submitting their permanent residence application to IRCC. 

Candidates got a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) after IRCC approved their application. That officially allows them to land in Canada as permanent residents. 

The COPR holder residing in Canada as a temporary resident can take the necessary steps to convert their legal status to permanent residence after the landing process. It can also cause those arriving abroad with their COPR to become permanent residents.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, IRCC has made several notable changes to its Express Entry policies. Currently, it is pursuing a plan to bring in 401,000 new permanent residents this year. It decided to transition more temporary residents to permanent residence at the beginning of 2021 to have a better chance of achieving its target of 401,000 immigrants. 

This year it has invited Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates under Express Entry only as a result.

That is a significant deviation from precedent since before the pandemic, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) was estimated for approximately 45 % of successful Express Entry candidates. 

There are 2 reasons for IRCC making this temporary shift in policy. First, around 90 % of CEC candidates who resided in Canada during the pandemic would be less likely to face COVID-related disruptions that impede their ability to complete their permanent landings in 2021. Second, IRCC invites PNP candidates to enable provinces to address their labour market needs.

Another consequence of this change is that, compared to before the pandemic, IRCC has not invited the highest-ranking candidates from the entire Express Entry pool. Still, it has invited the highest-ranking PNP and CEC candidates. It has led to the decline of the overall CRS cut-off scores. The department attempted to invite as many CEC candidates as possible to fulfil this year’s immigration target.

IRCC invited 27,332 CEC candidates on February 13 to apply for permanent residence. That was the most notable draw of the year because the CRS cut-off score was set at only 75. 

This draw was nearly six times bigger than the previous record. Before the pandemic, the cut-off score was almost 400 points lower. The Express Entry system has been in place since 2015, to put this in context.

As per the data from IRCC, CEC accounts for around 85 % of all finalised Express Entry applications this year. It has issued COPRs to 108,860 CEC applicants from January to October. The department issued 12,514 COPRs to PNP candidates. That comes to be about 10 % of all COPRs issued to Express Entry applicants this year.

FSWP candidates are the most negatively impacted group. They received just 6,795 COPRs or around 5 % of all COPRs issued to Express Entry candidates this year. That is about 9 times less than what it was before the pandemic.

IRCC finalised between 7,000 and 10,000 Express Entry applications each month from January to May. Compared to the slow start in the first half of the year, It nearly doubled in June and continues to be high in the second half.

CEC candidates have got the biggest benefits of the increased processing capacity. Compared with PNP candidates in January, it is not yet at the same level. IRCC has increased the number of finalised PNP applications. As it wishes to fulfil its goal of welcoming 401,000 newcomers, it has diverted its resources to the processing as many CEC applications as it can. There has been little improvement regarding the number of FSWP applications processed. IRCC finalised under 600 FSWP applications in September and October each.

With a backlog of 1.8 million temporary and permanent residence applications,  it includes just under 100,000 Express Entry applications as of October 27. If the IRCC continues at its present rate, by January 2022, it would have processed all of the remaining  48,000 CEC applications remaining. 

Before resuming invitations to FSWP and CEC candidates, the department would like to reduce the number of its Express Entry applicants by more than half. This year, IRCC has held 27 CEC draws, and the last one was on September 14. However, since December 23, 2020, FSWP candidates have not been drawn from the pool. As of October 25, 2021, some 165,000 FSWP candidates were in the Express Entry pool. That implies they represent around 85 % of all current Express Entry candidates.

IRCC is well on its way to reaching its immigration target this year. From January to October, It has invited nearly 314,000 permanent residents. In recent months, IRCC has been inviting over 45,000 per month. Currently, the department is preparing Canada’s immigration levels target and the Express Entry strategy to pursue in 2022. In the following months, we can anticipate learning more.

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