Canadian Permanent Residenceexpress entryExpress Entry DrawsImmigration Policy

IRCC Hints at Occupation In-Demand Express Entry Draws

Published on: January 26th, 2022

The immigration department is looking at moving to occupation in-demand Express Entry draws in 2022, says Canadian Immigration Minister Fraser. In a recent meeting with the Canadian Bar Association, Fraser also confirmed that Canada has no plans to stray from ambitious immigration targets for 2022.

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Immigration Minister Sean Fraser recently held a virtual meeting with the Canadian Bar Association. During the meeting, Fraser discussed issues that were recently brought to light following the release of an internal IRCC memo.

The Minister touched on the application backlog, Express Entry draws, and the possibility of implementing a new way of selecting newcomers.

FSW and CEC Express Entry draws in 2022

Fraser indicated that the Government of Canada has no planned FSW or CEC draw at this time. Minister Fraser discussed potential changes to the Express Entry system in 2022, remarking on both international graduates and workers.

The Minister mentioned that the Canadian immigration department is currently looking at occupation in-demand draws that could respond to Canada’s specific labour market needs.

Occupation In-Demand Express Entry Draws

Canada has implemented an in-demand occupation system in the past for Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) candidates. The program accepted applicants with experience in select NOC codes to apply for permanent residency.

Since launching in 2015, the Express Entry system has operated solely on a points-based system. The system ranks candidates against one another using factors such as age, education, work experience, proficiency in French or English, and connection to Canada. Those with the highest CRS score receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residency.

In IRCC’s recent internal memo, it was noted that, if all-program Express Entry draws were to resume, the CRS cut-off would likely be above 500. This is due to the sheer volume of applicants in the Express Entry pool.

Achieving a CRS score of 500 requires maximizing most point factors, which would result in a very homogenous group of newcomers.

Selecting candidates by occupation will result in more diverse applicants, that are able to better respond to Canada’s labour market and demographic needs.

New NOC system

Canada will be introducing a new NOC system in the second half of 2022. The new NOC system will change the way occupations are grouped, which will have a significant impact on Canadian immigration eligibility.

Currently, the Express Entry system requires applicants to have work experience in NOC Skill Levels A, B, or 0. The new structure will distinguish more clearly between formal training and education, especially within what is currently classified as Skill Level B. This may change who is eligible to apply under the Express Entry system.

It is also possible that the introduction of a new occupation in-demand Express Entry system will mean applicants with experience in any skill level can submit an Express Entry profile.

Processing of applications currently in inventory

Minister Fraser confirmed that the Government of Canada has no plans to abandon PR applicants in inventory or decrease immigration targets. Canada remains committed to increasing immigration levels over the next two years. Fraser also reiterated immigration’s importance in responding to labour market gaps caused by an ageing population.

In December 2021, the Government of Canada released an update to the 2021 budget. Among the measures to address Canada’s labour shortage, the budget dedicated $85 million toward eliminating the immigration backlog. During his meeting, Fraser assured members processing delays are likely to be alleviated as the intended result of the budget begins to take effect.

Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is also working on allowing applicants to track their applications in real-time and posting more accurate processing averages.

Currently, the average processing time indicated for Express Entry applications is 6-months. While this is the service standard that IRCC intends to meet, it is far from the actual processing times during COVID-19. According to a recent internal memo, the average FSW processing time is over 20 months, while CEC applications are taking at least 7 months.


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