Express Entry

PNP and CEC Entries slow down for Q3

The third quarter of 2021 has broken the pattern of record-breaking Q1 and Q2, with a definite slowing down in momentum, and a decrease in Express Entry draws.


Q3 2021 Express Entry draws targets CEC and PNP candidates 

In last quarter, IRCC has been focused on issuing as many invitations as they can, to candidates already living in Canada 

The third quarter of 2021 has broken the pattern of record-breaking Q1 and Q2, with a definite slowing down in momentum, and a decrease in Express Entry draws. 

Over the months of July, August and September, only 20,981 invitations were issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The number of invitations hasn’t been this low since Q4 2019 when IRCC issued 18,000 invitations. 

However, by September 14, 2021 of this year, IRCC had surpassed the total number of invitations sent out in all of 2020, which was 107,350. 

This year, the total since the last Express Entry draw held on September 29, 2021 stands at 109,696, and we still have a few more months left to the year! 

In the last quarter, 12 Express Entry draws were held. Seven of these draws specifically targeted Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates, while the remaining five were focused on Canadian Experience Class(CEC) candidates. Even though there were fewer draws for CEC candidates, most of the invitations (approximately 81%) went to them. 

IRCC has yet to hold a draw for candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) or Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), whereas in the past, draws were frequently held for candidates in these programs. 

As Canada looks forward to its post-pandemic recovery in the new year, this is expected to change. 


Q3 Express Entry draws: IRCC’s rationale 

According to an internal memo, dated June 8, which became public knowledge via an access to information request, the way IRCC approached Express Entry draws for 2021 was carefully thought out, and done in a way that would allow the federal government to meet its immigration targets for 2021.  

It was expected by IRCC that CEC candidates would make up the bulk of the immigration admissions for 2021. The historic draw held on February 13, 2021 went a long way towards meeting its objectives. 

The memo outlined the department’s intention to hold record-breaking draws for CEC candidates in June and July by issuing 6,000 invitations. This type of draw had already been held in April and the memo was simply seeking approval to keep holding similar large draws. 

The drop in invitations and draws after July also make sense as an application takes about four to eight months to be processed, reviewed, and accepted. Therefore, candidates who are invited after July are not likely to become permanent residents before the end of the year. 

IRCC’s memo further stated that to pivot away from the plan to target immigrants already in Canada would result in fewer admissions in 2021 and hamper their ability to meet their targets. 

According to the memo, the vast majority of CEC applications that have been received by September 2021 will be finalized and the candidates will be admitted. 

Tentative plans are also being made to shift the focus back to FSWP candidates early next year. These plans will vary greatly on what’s happening with COVID-19, and any associated travel restrictions. 

Due to the restrictions imposed since the start of the pandemic, there were more than 58,000 FSWP applicants who were unable to complete their landing in Canada in June. 

Canada started to lift travel restrictions for Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) holders on June 21, while the memo was penned on June 8. 

Therefore, in theory, IRCC could have started to process overseas Express Entry applications. However, it seems that for the duration of 2021, they will stick to their original game plan, and continue to issue invitations to candidates already living in Canada. 

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