On February 13, IRCC announced that post the draw for the ‘Canadian Experience Class’ (CEC) it had issued 27,332 invitations to eligible candidates to apply for permanent residency (PR). The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, which determines eligibility, was an all-time low of 75.
According to Canadian immigration experts, this is the lowest CRS requirement and the largest number of invites to be issued in a single CEC draw. However, Indian aspirants need to note that this draw was for the CEC category only, which covers those who have at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada – many of such individuals are already working in Canada.
IRCC states, “Most notably, approximately 90% of CEC candidates are already living in Canada. This means they’re unaffected by current travel restrictions and won’t face the same barriers as overseas applicants when gathering the required documentation and undergoing criminality and medical screening. Those invited to apply who are not currently living in Canada will be able to travel once restrictions are lifted.”
Express Entry is a point-based mechanism used by the Canadian government to manage applications from skilled and qualified workers, for permanent residence through three economic immigration programs. These are the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Canadian Experience Class and the Federal Skilled Trades Class. Permanent residency in Canada, is akin to a US green card, with the individual and his/her family acquiring the right to live, work or study in Canada and is a pathway to future citizenship.
On February 13, 2020, TOI had analysed IRCC’s data which reflected that one in four foreigners granted permanent resident (PR) status in Canada in 2019 was an Indian. Of the 3.41 lakh such individuals given PR status, 85,585 (25.1%) were from India. Overall, 45% of the total invitations under the Express Entry system were under the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
Canada has set an ambitious target, of granting permanent residency to 4.01 lakh individuals in 2021, followed by 4.11 lakh and 4.21 lakh in the next two years respectively. With the ongoing pandemic, the immediate focus appears to be to extend permanent residency invites to those already in Canada.
IRCC states, “With travel restrictions limiting who can come to Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is pioneering new ways to engage those who are already here and hard at work. Their status may be temporary, but their contributions are lasting—and we’re hoping to help more of them stay permanently.”
Express Entry draws in 2021 have been for those in the CEC category and also the Provincial Nominee category. In 2021, apart from this recent draw, two CEC draws were held in January, with cut off scores of 454 and 461 respectively.
The Canadian government has time and again reiterated the immigration is crucial to the country’s short-term recovery and long-term prosperity. Immigration experts view that once travel restrictions are lifted, the Express Entry draws will be wider in scope.