As Q3 begins, IRCC is close to reaching its target of 108,500 newcomers through Express Entry-managed programs.
Canada’s first quarter was a record-breaker with 44,124 invitations sent out to Express Entry candidates.
The record-breaking trend continued into the second quarter, surpassing Q1.
Q2 wrapped up with Canada issuing 44,591 invitations to Express Entry immigration candidates.
From January 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021, a grand total of 88,715 applicants have received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
These candidates are now all eligible to apply for their permanent residency. In fact, some may have already gotten their permanent residency papers approved!
Express Entry Program:
Canada’s online system used to manage applications from the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), is called Express Entry.
How does it work? Candidates who are interested and who qualify in any of these three programs need to create a profile online and submit it to the Express Entry pool. Every profile is ranked using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Candidates are ranked based on factors such as skilled work experience, language proficiency, education, age etc.
When IRCC holds invitation rounds, the profiles with the highest scores (a maximum of 1200 is achievable) are invited to submit their applications to become a permanent resident.
Express Entry is by far the country’s most popular immigration programs. Just this year alone, Canada is aiming to welcome 108,500 newcomers into the country through Express Entry-managed programs.
With these record breaking quarters, IRCC is close to meeting its goal.
Why has Q2 been record-breaking?
When COVID hit, Canadian immigration entered unchartered territory. With borders closed and travel becoming virtually non-existent, the federal government had to find innovative ways to reach its immigration goals for 2021.
The solution was to admit candidates who are already living and working in Canada. Therefore, every single draw held by IRCC since the beginning of this year has been program-specific, alternating between Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draws and CEC draws. According to IRCC data, approximately 95% of candidates selected from CEC program were already living in Canada.
By focusing only on candidates already in Canada, IRCC was able to avoid the hurdles and complications of having candidates arriving from overseas.
Another reason for the record-breaking numbers this quarter is because IRCC has been holding more frequent draws in the second quarter and issuing a larger number of invitations. In Q1, Canada held an enormous, historic draw in February 13, 2021 and issued a jaw dropping 27,332 invitations to all eligible CEC candidates, in one shot!
While Q2 didn’t hold any draws of this size, the draws have been consistently larger with lower cutoff CRS scores. Many of the draws often resulted in 6,000 ITAs being issued to candidates with scores in the 300s.
Due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) have not been included in any of the draws this year. This is not the norm since FSWP candidates typically get almost half of all the ITAs.
Unfortunately, since over 90% of FSWP candidates live overseas, they had to be excluded from the draws. However, as more vaccines are rolled out (over 75% of the Canadian population has been partially vaccinated) and a larger percentage of the global population become fully vaccinated, travel restrictions are beginning to ease.
So far, quarantine requirements have been lifted by the federal government for exempt travelers who are fully vaccinated. The list of exempt travelers has also been expanded and now include individuals who have been approved as permanent residents. Finally, direct flights between Pakistan and Canada are no longer banned.
It is clear from just these few public health measures that things are starting to slowly go back to normal and applicants will soon be able to complete their landings in Canada.
Chances are quite high that the second half of 2021 will see a few all-program draws and FSWP and FSTP candidates will be considered once more.
It will be interesting to see how immigration is tackled in the next six months.
The Trudeau government has made it very clear that immigration is a top priority and absolutely essential for Canada’s economic recovery. The federal government has a firm goal in mind and what the record-breaking numbers in Q1 and Q2 prove, is that they are quite determined to reach it.