Immigration Minister Sean Fraser reassured Canada’s business community Wednesday the country’s Express Entry system will be returning to normal operations and more Canadian Experience Class (CEC) applications will be accepted soon.
“We don’t have an announcement on the specific date of the next draw but I can reassure you we’re looking at resuming draws in the near term on the Canadian Experience Class for federal skilled workers,” said Fraser on a video conference call with Canadian Club Toronto.
In January, Ottawa temporarily paused the issuance of invitations for new high-skilled immigrants through the federal component of the Express Entry system, then representing a quarter of the planned annual intake, as officials struggled to tackle a growing backlog of applications.
Fraser also pointed to the newly-released 2022-2024 Immigration Levels Plan which shows Ottawa intends to ramp up the number of new permanent residents coming under Federal High Skilled streams from 55,900 this year to 75,750 in 2023 and then 111,500 in 2024.
Fraser Wants Express Entry to Be More Able to Adapt to Changing Needs
The immigration minister said some of the possible opportunities in adapting the Express Entry system are building into it ways to welcome people into smaller communities that have the capacity to absorb people because they have available housing and transit services.
“We can pivot to target sectors that are in the highest demand,” he said. “We can target people who are coming from a particular region that has the kind of educational institutions that will train the workers that we need in strategically-important sectors.”
Despite Canada being in the middle of a chronic labour shortage, IRCC cut its 2022 high-skilled immigration target of 110,500 new permanent residents to roughly half, 55,900, in the latest immigration levels plan.
This reduction is to accommodate Afghan refugees and newcomers through the government’s Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence Pathway, established during the COVID-19 pandemic to help meet record immigration targets.
Ottawa switched the focus of Canada’s immigration system because of COVID-19. Unable to bring in newcomers directly from abroad due to international travel restrictions, IRCC instead began targeting those already in Canada with temporary status.
The TR to PR Pathway targeted 90,000 applications from skilled workers and international graduates, while the Express Entry system began only issuing invitations to CEC and PNP candidates, 80 per cent of whom were already in Canada.
In 2021, invitations were issued exclusively to CEC and PNP candidates. Faced with a growing backlog, IRCC paused the issuance of CEC invitations and has only invited PNP candidates ever since.
reff : immmigration ca