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FSW & CEC Express Entry Draws to Resume Early July

Published on: April 22nd, 2022
Last updated: April 25th, 2022

After an extended hiatus, Canadian immigration minister Sean Fraser announced that Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) and Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Express Entry draws will resume by early July.

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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).

In a January 2022 teleconference, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser confirmed the pause would continue as IRCC worked at reducing the backlog. To help reduce the backlog in time to resume draws this spring, Canada has allocated significant funds in the federal budget to speed up immigration application processing.

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

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. As part of these measures, Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will also be providing another post-graduate work permit extension.

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 today’s 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

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. Targeting candidates with this high CRS score would result in a very homogenous pool of newcomers, which may point to an upheaval of the system altogether.

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

Due to the high volume of candidates in the Express Entry pool, the next all-program Express Entry draw may target in-demand occupations.

Rather than targeting a homogenous group of FSW candidates, the invitation system may change to better suit Canada’s labour needs. The government has previously alluded to starting occupation in-demand Express Entry draws this year. With the current CRS composition of the Express Entry pool, it may be the only way to select a diverse group of applicants that respond to Canada’s labour market needs.


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