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FSW & CEC Express Entry Draws to Resume July 6

Published on: April 22nd, 2022
Last updated: July 5th, 2022

After an extended hiatus, Canadian immigration minister Sean Fraser recently revealed that Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Express Entry draws will resume on July 6, 2022.

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada put a pause on Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) draws as of December 2020.

The Canadian government continued to pause these draws as the immigration application backlog grew. As of September 2021, IRCC paused all Federal High Skilled Worker draws (including the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, and Federal Skilled Trades Program).

To help reduce the backlog, Canada invested significant funds in the federal budget to speed up immigration processing.

Following the progress made in reducing the application inventory, Canada is now able to resume all-program draws by July 6, 2022.

Will the FSW CRS cut-off increase in 2022?

During the FSW and CEC draw pause, the number of candidates in the Express Entry pool grew significantly.

For this reason, IRCC believes that the FSW and CEC CRS cut-off would likely rise above 500 and remain high for about 6 months.

However, the Canadian government recently passed Bill C-19. The bill gives Canada’s immigration minister the authority to select candidates based on groupings rather than CRS score alone. Since grouping-based draws would rank candidates against others in their grouping rather than the entire pool of candidates, the CRS cut-off will likely be much lower.

Will the next all-program Express Entry draw target all occupations?

Bill C-19 became law at the end of June 2022. This means that the Canadian immigration minister can now invite Express Entry candidates based on their work experience, language, education, or other factors.

For example, IRCC could hold an Express Entry draw specifically for health care workers, or even an Express Entry draw for French speakers.

As Canada hits record-high job vacancies, targeting a set of particularly in-demand occupations will be crucial in helping to fill these gaps.

Rather than targeting a homogenous group of FSW candidates with high CRS scores, this new invitation system will help to better respond to Canada’s labour market needs.

Overview of April 22 announcement

On April 22nd, 2022, Sean Fraser announced a series of measures to address Canada’s labour shortage. Minister Fraser’s announcement centred largely on the economic need for immigration as Canada recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to Canada’s strong demand for skilled workers, the government is implementing measures to help attract and retain foreign talent.

Since pausing Federal High Skilled Worker (FHS – including CEC, FSW, and FST) draws in September 2021, IRCC has cut processing inventory in more than half. The inventory will be even further reduced by July 2022. This will allow IRCC to process most of these applications within the 6-month service standard.

During the April 22 announcement, Minister Fraser addressed the following:

  • Invitations to FSW, CEC, and FST candidates will resume in early July;
  • IRCC will process most new Express Entry applications within six months;
  • Those with a post-graduate work permit expiring between January and December 2022 will qualify for a work permit renewal for up to an additional 18 months starting this summer;
  • IRCC will no longer require applicants to remain in Canada while their applications are being processed;
  • Applicants who apply for an open work permit while waiting for a decision on their permanent residence application may apply for an open work permit valid until 2024;
  • Immediate family members outside of Canada who were included in the principal applicant’s application for permanent residence may apply for an open work permit

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