Express Entry: Canada invites skilled immigrants overseas for first time since 2020

For the first time since December 2020, Canada is inviting candidates to participate in the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates also participated in today’s Express Entry draw. This is the first time CEC candidates have entered the Express Entry draw since September 2021.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has invited a total of 1,500 Express Entry candidates to apply for permanent residence. The Comprehensive Classification System (CRS) cutoff score was 557.

Minister’s statement on today’s draw

“Today, I am pleased to announce that Express Entry draws have officially resumed and applications will be processed at our 6 month processing standard. I want to thank the candidates from around the world for their patience, as we worked to reduce the backlog before resuming Express Entry draws. I look forward to welcoming skilled workers who will are essential in addressing Canada’s labour shortages.” 

Why today’s draw is big news

The return of all-program draws is important for several reasons. From its inception in 1967 until 2020, the Federal Skilled Worker Program was Canada’s primary way of welcoming skilled immigrants. Before the pandemic, the FSWP included about 45 percent of those who received eligible immigrants and received Express Entry ITAs.

The return of the lottery for all shows is also important news for CEC candidates. CEC is Canada’s main route to permanent residency for a large number of international students and foreign workers. The CEC has become increasingly important in recent years as Canada relies on this group to achieve its immigration goals. Before the pandemic, the CEC represented only 9 per cent of Canada’s 341,000 immigrants in the combined economic, family and humanitarian category. CCAs accounted for nearly a third of the more than 405,000 immigrants who arrived in Canada last year.

Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser told CIC News two weeks ago that IRCC is on track to meet its goal of holding an Express Entry draw for all programs on July 6. He confirmed this on Twitter on Monday. IRCC originally made this announcement in April. Additionally, IRCC plans to reprocess most Express Entry applications within six months.

The Express Entry draw for all programs occurs when IRCC considers all candidates in the Express Entry pool and issues an Invitation to Apply for Permanent Residence (ITA) based solely on their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores. From the launch of Express Entry in 2015 until December 2020, IRCC ran lotteries primarily for all programs. This means candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) candidates have the opportunity to obtain an ITA.

As of January 2021, IRCC is focused on inviting only CEC candidates. IRCC is doing this because most of these candidates are in Canada and are less likely to face COVID-related challenges than immigration candidates abroad. However, IRCC suspended CEC invitations in September 2021 to address its backlog of applications. Meanwhile, IRCC continues to hold bi-weekly draws, inviting only Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates to help provinces and territories meet their labor market needs.

How does Express Entry work?

Express Entry is a two-step process.

In the first step, candidates must confirm that they meet the criteria for at least one of the three Express Entry programs.

If they meet the criteria, candidates can upload their Express Entry profile on the IRCC website. Candidates receive points from a comprehensive ranking system based on their human capital characteristics such as age, education, language skills and work experience. About every two weeks, IRCC invites the highest-scoring candidates to apply for permanent residence.

Permanent resident visitors have 60 days to submit an application to IRCC. IRCC aims to process most applications in 6 months or less. By 2024, Canada will welcome more than 110,000 Express Entry immigrants annually.