Canada Immigration News: Express Entry Backlogs

By Remitbee - Feb 1, 2022

A leaked internal IRCC briefing memo has sparked speculation about how Canada's immigration service will manage Express Entry in 2022 and beyond. This article will tell you more about it!

IRCC Latest News

The National Post acquired an IRCC memo estimating the existing high-skilled applicant inventory at 76,000. Each application equals an average of 2.3 new residents in Canada. Therefore, 76,000 applications means an additional 174,800 residents.

If every application were approved, enough immigrants would arrive to achieve Canada's objectives by 2023. However, despite Canada's persistent labour needs, IRCC believes the October 2020 Immigration Levels Plan's objective of 110,500 new permanent residents for 2022 might be slashed in half.

This cut helps fulfill the government's record immigration goals for Afghan refugees and immigrants through the Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence Pathway.

Express Entry Latest News

According to an IRCC internal memo, the express entry pool includes skilled employees, skilled tradespeople, and those with Canadian experience.

The IRCC memo, signed on November 24, 2021, explains why IRCC has not issued Express Entry invitations to Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) candidates since December 2020 and to Canadian Experience Class (CEC) applicants since September 2021.

The memo also said that processing timeframes for skilled federal workers (FSW) could increase so much from the current six-month timeframe. It means no express entry draw for 6 months!

COVID-19 changed the immigration system's focus in Canada too. Due to travel restrictions, applications for high-skilled workers from other countries have been suspended since September 2021.

As a result, the IRCC began pursuing permanent residency for 90,000 skilled professionals and abroad graduates already in Canada on temporary visas or as students through a new program called TR2PR (temporary resident to permanent resident program).

Whereas Express Entry began only inviting CEC and PNP candidates already in Canada. Despite this, in September 2021, IRCC discontinued sending CEC invitations due to a mounting backlog and has since only invited PNP candidates.

Also Read - Canada Immigration Levels Plan Announcement 2022

What caused such backlogs?

Express Entry started in 2015 to address the massive backlog and lengthy queue periods associated with the previous first-come, first-served immigration system. Rather than processing each application in the order in which it was received, the new method allowed Canada to identify and encourage the most qualified people to apply.

It worked at first since there was no backlog, and it lowered the processing period to six to twelve months. However, the fact that skilled worker invitations are once again being blocked is a sign of Canada's and the IRCC's troubling mismanagement.

The administration should have taken advantage of all available options to anticipate these issues and avoid the onset of an unmanageable backlog.

How will this application pause affect the candidates?

This suspension affects almost a fourth of Canada's anticipated immigration intake this year. Apart from federal high-skilled professionals, Ottawa still has room for 250,000 to 300,000 permanent residents, with more than 130,000 coming via economic categories and another 103,500 coming through Family Class categories.

These categories include spouses, partners, children, parents and grandparents, Provincial Nominee Programs, the newly-established Atlantic Immigration Program, and Quebec, which controls its immigration system and anticipates welcoming upwards of 70,000 newcomers in 2022.

The halt does not apply to these immigration routes. Due to the proposed suspension of government high-skilled invites, a qualified job offer becomes really important when considering immigration to Canada.

When will the FSW draws continue?

According to the same internal memo from IRCC, the department officially suspended FHS drawings from November 1, 2021, to January 31, 2022. As a result, FSW drawings may restart in February 2022.

However, the document recommends extending this hold until at least halfway through 2022 due to a significant FHS inventory. However, the government of Canada has not yet announced the implementation of this extension.

Initially, the suspension was because of travel limitations in Canada, which made it challenging to complete most external applications. IRCC continued to suspend FSW drawings while tackling the backlog as Canada's inventory rose considerably due to steps to attract applicants from within the country.

At the beginning of 2022, an estimated 76,000 FHS applicants were on hand. Since this figure is much greater than required to satisfy FHS admissions objectives, the letter advises suspending FHS intake for at least the year's first half.

IRCC is considering decreasing the number of applications for FHS, including FSW, making room for other priorities like TR to PR stream resettlement of Afghan nationals.

Should You Still Enter the Express Entry Pool?

Given that the date of the next FSW draw is unknown, it is wiser to join the Express Entry pool immediately to prevent missing out on an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

Considering the unpredictable nature of Express Entry drawings, establishing a profile in the pool assures that you do not miss an advantageous CRS cut-off.

While your profile is being considered for Express Entry, you may also be invited by Provincial Nominee Programs! Throughout the epidemic, PNPs have continued to recruit directly from the Express Entry pool to meet their province's labour market and demographic demands.

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