Canada will resume FSWP and CEC draws in early July, 2022.
Last week, Canada's Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, announced that Express Entry invitations for Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates would probably resume in early July. Furthermore, most new Express Entry applications will be processed once again within the six-month service standard. As a result, IRCC would more often than will invite the highest-scoring candidates to apply for immigration, regardless of which program they were eligible for.
During the pandemic, IRCC only held PNP-only draws on rare occasions. In the early stages of the pandemic, IRCC prioritized inviting CEC candidates to meet its goal of admitting a record-high number of immigrants in a single year despite travel restrictions. CEC candidates are frequently already in Canada, so they were not subject to the travel restrictions imposed by Canada between 2020 and 2021. Last year, Canada attracted a record 4,05,000 permanent residents due to this strategy.
IRCC has also focused on inviting Canada PNP candidates only to support provincial immigration goals throughout the pandemic, and the Express Entry went on hold.
The disadvantage of IRCC's strategy is that it has caused backlogs in the immigration system, including Canada Express Entry. As a result, since December 2020, IRCC has not invited FSWP candidates. Likewise, since September 2021, no CEC candidates have been invited.
The lack of FSWP and CEC invitations comes at a time when Canada is experiencing record-low unemployment and record-high job vacancies.
Meanwhile, from its inception in 1967 until recently, when IRCC decided to focus on inviting and processing CEC candidates, the FSWP was the primary source of skilled foreign immigrants to Canada. This temporary policy shift has reduced the flow of skilled foreign immigrants into the Canadian workforce when the labor market has historically been tight.
Meanwhile, IRCC aims for 55,000 Express Entry permanent residents in 2022, which is roughly half of its target for 2021. Before this year, Express Entry was the main pathway for new economic immigrants to Canada. The reason for the temporary decline in Express Entry targets is so it can wind down its Temporary to Permanent Residence (TR2PR) program and accommodate other priorities. IRCC hopes to welcome more than 110,000 immigrants through Express Entry by 2024.
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