This Express Entry week, Minister Fraser had a meeting in Toronto to discuss immigration policy going forward. Over the upcoming weeks, The News will release a special series on the interview. We cover the anticipated return to all-program draws next month in Part 1.

Sean Fraser, Canada’s minister of immigration, stated in an interview that the country plans to resume all-program Express Entry lotteries on Wednesday, July 6.

Special interview series with Minister Fraser

On June 21, 2022, the minister will be in Toronto to talk about the future of Immigration to Canada.

In the ensuing weeks, the media will publish a special series of stories expanding on the conversation with Minister Fraser on subjects like:

  • Part 2: Changes to Express Entry (this article will be released on June 24).
  • Enhancing client experience and application processing.
  • Costs for Canadian citizenship.
  • Allowing illegal immigrants to work in Canada.
  • 2023–2025 Immigration Levels Plan
  • Establishing more immigration routes for international students and workers.
  • What a difference becoming a preacher has made in his life.

One of the biggest technology conferences in the world, Collision, brought Minister Fraser to Toronto.

IRCC on track to uphold Express Entry commitment

According to Fraser, Express Entry draws will resume as scheduled in early July at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). When the all-program draws start, the IRCC promised to get the Express Entry service standard back to six months in addition to making the guarantee made in April.

In December 2020, due to the pandemic, IRCC halted Express Entry invitations to apply (ITA) for permanent residence for Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) candidates. In September 2021, it did the same for applicants for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Recent Express Entry developments

In its biweekly Express Entry lotteries before the pandemic, IRCC typically gave equal weight to all applicants. This meant that regardless of their programmed of eligibility, the IRCC would invite the candidates with the highest Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores.

During the pandemic, IRCC momentarily changed its strategy. The FSWP and FSTP draws were suspended because it made tactical sense to give priority to economic class immigrants in Canada while the nation had travel restrictions in place. In order to meet its target of admitting 401,000 new permanent residents by the end of 2021, IRCC gave CEC candidates priority for a significant portion of last year.

The number of applications in the IRCC’s inventory, however, increased significantly as a result of this and other developments. In September 2021, IRCC made the decision to also halt Express Entry invitations to CEC candidates in order to better manage its inventory and raise its service standard. The IRCC has continued to extend Express Entry invitations to Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applicants throughout the pandemic in an effort to support the economic growth of provinces and territories all across the nation.

How the all-program draws will affect Express Entry candidates

Candidates for the FSWP, FSTP, and CEC will all be happy to see the reintroduction of all-program draws.

The FSWP was the primary route for immigrants from lower socioeconomic classes to enter Canada from its commencement in 1967 to the start of the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, it made up about 45% of all applicants selected for permanent residency through Express Entry.

There is still a significant demand for FSWP candidates to proceed with the Canadian immigration process, according to research by World Education Services (WES), one of the Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) providers recognized by IRCC.

In the meanwhile, the restart of CEC candidate draws will assist people already residing in Canada in maintaining their right to do so. An Express Entry candidate in Canada who receives an ITA and then files their application for permanent residence has the option to also submit an application for a bridging open work permit (BOWP). While their application for permanent residence is being handled, they can continue to live legally in Canada because to the BOWP.

Since September 2021, CEC candidates have been unable to take advantage of the BOWP due to the lack of ITAs available to them. Recognizing this, the IRCC also declared in April that the main batch of CEC candidates will be eligible for an open work permit extension beginning this summer. This cohort consists of individuals whose Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) has recently expired or is about to do so. There is currently no information on when the IRCC will start accepting applications for open work permits for these people.

How does Express Entry work?

Express Entry, a system for managing applications for the FSWP, FSTP, CEC, and a section of the PNP, was introduced in 2015.

On the IRCC website, eligible candidates post their profiles. Then, a CRS score is given to them based on their human capital attributes, including age, education, language proficiency, and work experience. As was customary previous to the epidemic, IRCC anticipates inviting people with the highest CRS scores to apply for permanent residence when all-program draws restart.

In the future, IRCC is recommending a significant modification to Express Entry that would grant the department the authority to award ITAs to particular groups it feels will be well-positioned to assist Canada’s diverse economic requirements.

On stage at Collision, the minister provided justification for this proposal, saying, “If we can project talents that are needed over the next 20 to 30 years, we can introduce people who can hit the ground running and have a huge economic effect.”

The minister, however, stated in his interview with the News that the Canadian Senate and Parliament are still considering this plan, so he is not in a position to give a timeline for when the IRCC would start using this novel strategy at this time.

However, Fraser expressed his expectation that “these authorities will be soon.” The second segment of the news interview series will go into more detail on the Express Entry changes.

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