In early July, Canada will resume its Express Entry draws for Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), and Federal Skilled Trades (FST) candidates to fill hundreds of thousands of unfilled posts across the country. This news will bring joy to the hearts of aspiring Indians as well as international students who are already in Canada and whose plans to obtain permanent residency in Canada have been severely thwarted.
For the last several years, Indians have topped the charts in terms of both the number of invites issued and the number of permanent residents admitted. For example, under the ‘Express Entry’ route, Indian citizens received 50,841 invitations to apply for permanent residence in Canada in 2020. This represented 47 percent of the total invites (1.07 lakh) issued by IRCC.
Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada made the announcement that Canada would be opening its doors through the Express Entry system (IRCC). According to the immigration agency, the majority of new applications will be processed within the 6-month service standard. Restrictions on travel throughout most of 2020 and 2021 disrupted the processing of international applications, causing the processing inventory to grow.
“We temporarily paused invitations to apply under the federal high-skilled streams, including the Canadian experience class, federal skilled worker class, and federal skilled trades class, to manage this inventory”, explains IRCC.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, IRCC has shifted its Express Entry focus to the CEC and Provincial Nominee Program categories, as these candidates are typically already in Canada. Moreover, in the latter half of 2021, even CEC eligible candidates were impacted as draws for this category stalled, affecting hundreds of thousands of international students with post-study work experience seeking to become permanent residents. Since December 2020, IRCC has paused invitations to FSWP candidates.
According to IRCC, the federal high-skilled processing inventory has been reduced by more than half as a result of the temporary pause, falling from approximately 111,900 people in September 2021 to just 48,000 people by March 2022. This stockpile will be reduced further by July 2022, allowing us to return to the service standards that our clients have come to expect.
Express Entry is Canada’s flagship point-based immigration system for those seeking permanent residency. Candidates submit applications, which are ranked and placed in a pool; draws are held on a regular basis, and candidates with the highest-ranking points are invited to apply for permanent residence. Permanent residence is similar to the green card in the United States in that it is frequently the first step toward citizenship.
In order to facilitate family reunification, IRCC states that immediate family members who are outside of Canada and were included in a principal applicant’s permanent residence application will be eligible for their own open work permit.
Alberta-based, Ken Nickel-Lane, founder of an immigration services firm, said, “Employers across sectors are feeling the talent crunch. Unemployment in Canada is currently at its lowest since 1976, This recent announcement and those made earlier including for those seeking to hire temporary foreign workers are directly targeting this issue.”
Minister Fraser further launched a new temporary policy that will allow recent international graduates with expiring temporary status to stay in Canada longer in order to gain work experience and improve their chances of qualifying for permanent residency. Former international students who are in Canada and have a post-graduation work permit that expires between January and December 2022 will be eligible for an additional open work permit of up to 18 months beginning in summer 2022.
According to IRCC, this additional open work permit will enable applicants to continue contributing to the Canadian economy, addressing our labour shortage while gaining valuable work experience and preparing their Express Entry profiles.
Another temporary public policy, introduced in August 2020, allowed foreign nationals in Canada as visitors to apply for an employer-specific work permit without leaving the country. Recognizing that those with visitor status in Canada may wish to stay and work, this temporary public policy has been extended until February 28, 2023.
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