After a recent meeting with President and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, Goldy Hyder, the Immigration Minister Sean Fraser indicated that the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) draws will resume "in near future" and that he was looking into ways to make the Express Entry system more flexible.
“We do need to resume, in the near future, draws for federal skilled workers,” Fraser suggested. “If you actually look at the immigration levels plan over the next couple of years the balance is shifting back and by year three… a record number of federal skilled workers, including through the Canadian Experience Class, will be welcomed to Canada. By no means do I want to communicate that there will be any kind of abandonment of—what I would argue—is one of the most successful immigration programs anywhere in the world.”
In another discussion with Canadian immigration lawyers, Fraser hinted that occupation-specific Express Entry draws could be a possibility in the future.
One of Fraser's priorities outlined in his ministerial mandate letter is expanding Express Entry options to permanent residency for international students and temporary foreign employees. He's also in charge of expanding the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot and moving forward with the Municipal Nominee Program to ensure that immigration better helps small and medium-sized towns. Fraser has already made the Atlantic Immigration Pilot a permanent program since entering office in the fall, which was one of the other objectives on the agenda.
Express Entry was designed to handle immigration applications for skilled professionals who qualify for one of three programs: the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), or the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). If nominated by a participating Canadian province or territory, candidates who are eligible for one of these programs may also be eligible for the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).
Directly applying through Express Entry may result in the federal government issuing a permanent residency invitation. Candidates who receive a provincial nomination, on the other hand, receive an additional 600 CRS points, virtually ensuring that they will be invited to apply in a subsequent Express Entry Draw.
Canada has only been encouraging PNP candidates to apply through the Express Entry route since September 2021. The halt in CEC, FSWP, and FSTP draws is temporary, while Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is simultaneously handling the backlog of immigration petitions due to pandemic.
Roughly 64,890 FSWP and CEC candidates awaited results on their immigration applications as of February 1. However, as hoped, there will be fewer Express Entry immigrants this year than there are in the backlog, according to the immigration levels plan for 2022-2024. Without counting PNP candidates, Canada expects to admit 55,900 immigrants through Express Entry in 2022. Canada expects to admit 75,750 Express Entry immigrants the following year. In the fall of this year, the next immigration levels plan for 2023-2025 will be discussed as the targets for 2023 and beyond may alter before then.
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