Around 80% of the Express Entry applicants are eligible for FSWP
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Around 80% of the Express Entry applicants are eligible for FSWP

The number had been increasing from the last year for Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) applicants in the Express Entry. That happened because Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) decided to shift their focus to applicants living in Canada.

In a recently received data from IRCC, it is shown as there are around 194,000 applicants. Out of the total applicants, around 154,000 are from FSWP and 38,000 from CEC. The remaining small numbers are for Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applicants that are 577 and 344, respectively.

The number of applicants and their breakdown in the Express Entry pool:

Immigration Category Number of Candidates
Canadian Experience Class Applicants 38,223
Provincial/Territorial Nominee Applicants 344
Federal Skilled Worker Program Applicants 154,421
Federal Skilled Trades Program Applicants 577
Grand Total 193,565

IRCC had sent invites to FSWP applicants in Dec ’20. After that, there had not been any draw for FSWP applicants. That is why the share of FSWP has increased to around 80% in the total pool. In 2019, FSWP applicants grabbed around 45% of the overall invites. However, when Corona hit the world, Canada’s immigration was drastically impacted. The country started sending invites to CEC and PNP applicants for some time after Mar ’20. Later on, in summer, they started conducting all-program draws as well. 

However, last year, maple country sent invites only to PNP and CEC applicants. Due to the high aim set by the government, IRCC had to increase the invitation count. So they started focusing on applicants residing in the country. The majority of those applicants were under CEC, and they helped achieve the goal of 401,000 onboarding. Due to ever-changing travel restrictions/guidelines, IRCC had to shift their focus away from the overseas applicants.

Things remain the same even after the lifting of travel restrictions. IRCC continued inviting CEC and PNP applicants. However, in Sep ’21, the department sent invites to only PNP aspirants every 14 days. An internal document suggested that the step was implemented to decrease the backlog. That would help them to bring the processing period to six months again. The average processing duration had gone up to nine months in 2020. Due to the pause, the share of CEC applicants also increased to close to 20%, an increase from 6% in Jun ’21. At that time, around 6000 applicants under CEC were getting invites. 

Express Entry Pool breakdown as of Jun ’21:

Immigration Category Number of Candidates
Canadian Experience Class Applicants 10,529
Provincial/Territorial Nominee Program Applicants 366
Federal Skilled Worker Program Applicants 153,062
Federal Skilled Trades Applicants 644
Grand Total 164,601

From Jun till Dec ’21, the share of CEC and FSWP applicants has grown. The lesser FSTP count is due to a number of elements involved. IRCC sends invites to those applicants first, who are qualified for more than one stream. They follow a hierarchy that goes like CEC, FSWP, FSTP and so on. Suppose an applicant is eligible for FSTP and CEC so that individual will be considered as a CEC applicant. In a similar fashion, many applicants may have moved to PNP.

In addition, Express Entry profiles are only valid in the pool for one year. Candidates who have not been invited within that time frame are removed from the pool. If they want to try again, individuals whose Express Entry profiles have expired have an option to submit it again. Because there was no FSTP or FSWP draw last year, some of these applicants’ profiles that were filed in 2020 may have expired.

Because PNP applicants receive a 600-point award for their recommendation, they are almost always requested to apply. Even though these applicants may not be in Canada, the IRCC has held PNP-specific draws throughout the year. Provinces and territories create the PNP to meet their immigrant goals, but the federal govt makes the final decision on who can be a permanent resident. As a result, the nominating provinces and territories rely on the federal govt to invite PNP nominees in order to satisfy regional economic and population growth levels.

What to seek from the Canadian immigration department this year?

Curent immigration targets are expected to be increased in the year. Canada projected to welcome 411,000 newcomers in 2022 under the previous Immigration Levels Plan. Sean Fraser, the Minister of Immigration, has until February 10 to reveal the revised objectives.

Fraser stated maple country would return to admitting a mix of migrants from both within and outside the country when the Atlantic Immigration Pilot becomes a permanent stream this year.

I anticipate as we go forward, we are going to have a healthy mix of people who are here with some experience in Canada now and other employees who may not yet be here that will come to Canada through a program such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, as the public health situation allows,” Fraser told the press.

In an internal document, IRCC revealed that it aims to halve the Express Entry queue in order to satisfy the six-month operating threshold before resuming drawings for categories other than the PNP. The Express Entry queue was reduced to roughly 119,000 applicants waiting for judgments in December, compared to over 138,000 in October.

The reduction was fueled by a drop in CEC registrations, which fell to roughly 25,000 in December from over 48,000 in October. In December, the FSWP backlog climbed to almost 55,000, up from nearly 51,000 before two months.

IRCC has been speeding up procedures in recent weeks. By the end of 2021, IRCC had processed over 45,000 applications in a month.

In November, senior IRCC executives met with government leaders to discuss the Express Entry intake approach for the period preceding up to early 2022. When the information from this conference gets public, we will learn what was addressed.

We don’t know how IRCC will restart FSWP or CEC draws, but the speed with which IRCC processes applicants, as well as the discussion papers from the November 2021 conference, provide some indications. It will also be interesting to see how the modified immigration levels strategy turns out.

 

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