The IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) has yet to finish this year’s Express Entry plan.
To qualify, an applicant needs to meet the eligibility requirements of the:
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
From there, they can upload their Express Entry profile to the IRCC website.
They’ll receive a CRS score (Comprehensive Ranking System) according to their languages skills, education, age, work experience, and other criteria.
Every 2 weeks, the IRCC will invite a candidate for a permanent residency application.
Changes Throughout the Pandemic
Before the pandemic, FSWP applicants were the primary recipients of those invitations. Currently, CEC applicants are now the greatest recipients of the IRCC’s invitations.
However, starting September 2021, the IRCC has held draws only for PNP applicants (as a way of reducing its backlogs).
The November Memo
The IRCC signed a memo on 24th November 2021, triggering speculation on the Express Entry requirements Canada will follow this year.
The memo looks at the pause on the program’s invitations, with intentions to extend the pause for FSTP, CEC, and FSWP candidates. Extensions should last to mid-2022.
Plus, a lot of detail is missing from the memo. This has put readers in a state of suspense, each guessing how the Express Entry system will move forward.
Canada’s backlog isn’t helping either. The application’s total backlog is now at 1.8 million individuals, with only an estimated 120,000 qualified for Express Entry.
The Ministry’s Response
January 20 saw Immigration Minister Fraser meet with the Canadian Bar Association, and for a discussion on Canada’s immigration law.
The minister has said that the IRCC is yet to schedule future CEC and FSWP draws. However, they’re still looking at 2022’s Express Entry draw options.
Some speculator opinions expect Canada’s government to cancel and refund residency applications, a move is done by the country a decade prior for backlog reduction. However, Minister Fraser has stated that the IRCC is not doing so with currently submitted permanent residency applications.
Minister Fraser has brought up the possibility of hosting draws based on occupations, and in a way that responds to Canada’s labor market needs.
Canada’s 2021 budget did indicate this possibility, with the government aiming to reform Express Entry towards that end.
So far, issuing those invitations on grounds of occupation may end up being a new Express Entry experience. Though it may not be a totally new approach for Canada.
Past and New Requirements
Previously, FSWP applicants had to qualify under an in-demand NOC code (National Occupational Classification) for FSWP eligibility.
Today, with the multiple provincial and federal pathways, applicants must qualify through an eligible NOC to continue immigration on that pathway.
With that, scores are still a critical component of the program.
Since Express Entry’s launch in 2015, the program has managed FSTP, CEC, and FSWP candidates according to their CRS scores.
Before the pandemic, the IRCC normally invited applicants who scored the highest CRS for permanent residency, regardless of their eligibility program. The reason was that high CRS scores were the most likely to integrate into Canada’s labor market.
Besides, Canada hasn’t held all-program draws often, the last being in 12/2020. From January to September 2021, the IRCC only handed invitations to PNP and CEC applications qualifying for Express Entry.
This isn’t expected to change any time soon. With the new Omicron strain of coronavirus, it’s expected that draws will be postponed to a much later date.