Express Entry (EE) is an online immigration application system used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to manage and process applications for Permanent Residence with three federal economic immigration programs and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). These three federal programs are Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Program, Federal Skilled Trades (FST) Program, and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program.
Covid-19 and Immigration through Express Entry
After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, IRCC concentrated on the provincial nominees and candidates in the Canadian Experience Class only, and stopped the intake through the FSW and the FST programs, as the Canadian borders were closed. However, as the country fought the first wave of COVID-19 and the number of cases decreased, IRCC started to accept candidates in the FSW and FST programs from September to December 2020. After the third wave hit Canada in January 2021, the IRCC again returned to the practice of PNP and CEC-specific draws only, prioritizing transitioning temporary residents to permanent residents, thus inviting the candidates that were already in Canada to reach the intake quota of 2021.
Before the pandemic started, in 2019, About 43% of the total invitations issued by the Canadian Government were in FSW program, 37% in the CEC program, 18% were invited in the PNP, and about 2% in the FST program. According to these statistics, nearly half of invitations were issued through FSW and FST program.
Surprising Changes in Statistics
During the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020, IRCC processed 63,925 PR applications through the Express Entry. 25,105 applicants (39.1%) were granted PR status under the CEC, 24,245 immigrants (37.9%) were processed through the FSW program, 14,100 cases were processed through the Express Entry-aligned streams of the PNP, and only 565 newcomers immigrated through the FST program. Considering these figures by IRCC, in 2020, for the first time in the history of Express Entry, the number of permanent residents in the CEC overcame the number of immigrants in the FSW program.
Canada Opens the Borders
As vaccination rates increases and daily COVID-19 cases decreases, Canada lifts travel restrictions. 80 percent of Canada’s population over age 12 have received at least the first dose of the Canada-approved COVID -19 vaccine, and more than 50 percent of eligible Canadians are now fully vaccinated. After Canada fully vaccinated 75 percent of the eligible population and takes the pandemic under control, the country will be able to welcome more newcomers from abroad as the number of new daily cases of COVID-19 are approaching lows not seen since after the first wave, with slightly above 500 new daily cases.
Starting June 2021, the Government of Canada began to ease public health measures affecting travellers. The federal government allowed foreign nationals who hold a valid Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) to travel to Canada and exempted fully vaccinated travellers from quarantine requirements. In addition, Canada also lifted travel bans with all countries except India. And as of September 9, 2021, Canada will open its borders to vaccinated tourists from all over the world.
FSW and FST Programs
According to Canada’s 2021‒2023 Immigration Levels Plan, the country had set immigration targets of about 401,000 permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2022, and respectively 421,000 in 2023. During the first half of 2021, IRCC has issued almost 90,000 Invitations to Apply for permanent residents. Following the new temporary pathways as well as PNP and CEC draws, IRCC will have to eventually invite overseas candidates to fill labour gaps in the market and meet the immigration targets. Considering the gap in the immigration numbers, FST and FSW program candidates will be invited again soon.
Would you like to come to Canada once the travel restrictions are over? Are you a foreign specialist possessing higher education, good knowledge of English, and a few years of skilled work experience? Contact us today to be among the first invitees to immigrate to Canada after the COVID-19 is over!
Kay Kim ICCRC
Director of UVANU International Consulting & Webelieve Canadian Immigration Services