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March 2, 2022

Canada is expanding Express Entry for international students regardless of the immigration backlog

A ray of hope can be there for the international students if their post-graduation work permits in Canada are expiring soon. As already discussed earlier the two million backlogs of Canada regarding immigration, the country is working towards expanding the Express Entry system and opening up pathways for international students and temporary foreign workers to grant permanent residency in Canada.

The skilled workers looking forward to settling down in Canada have an online Express Entry system. This system is used by Canada to manage immigration applications. The three types of immigration programs managed under the Express Entry program includes the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

Due to the increasing backlogs, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) paused the issuance of CEC invitations which is known to be the most common route for post-graduate work permit holders for obtaining a permanent residency.

In a recent detailed discussion that took place on 16th February 2022, about the state of Canadian immigration that considered the matter to look into making the Express Entry system more flexible for the candidates and the CEC draws would be resumed in the near future.

As of now, the immigration levels plan is seeing constant improvements and the balance will be shifting back as before in the next couple of years. Canada is estimated to welcome a record number of federal skilled workers, including the Canadian Experience Class in the upcoming three years.

In the mandate letter, Fraser stated that he would be prioritizing to broaden the options for the candidates to receive PR status for the international students as well as the temporary workers especially for the candidates whose right to remain in Canada has been affected due to the IRCC delays despite contributing to the Canadian economy significantly. 

Express Entry Expansion to tackle the backlogs

A piece of concern rose out even after the reassurance of Fraser that the immigration applications will be tackled shortly that included the loosing of skilled immigrants to other countries which are working to reform their immigration system to welcome the new candidates and stating that everyone is in a race for global talent but when it comes to Canada, there’s no such question of winning the race. 

According to the new strategy of IRCC to welcome more immigrants in the upcoming years under the Immigration Level Plan 2022-24 which is looking forward to admitting 431,645 applicants in 2022 aiming to attract skilled workers to occupy the labour shortages rose because of the pandemic and also including refugee resettlement for the candidates looking forward to seeking asylum in Canada.

The economic class admissions are going to admit most of the immigrants under the new plan. However, Canada has decided to halt the admission categories such as CEC, FSWP, and the FSTP and inviting only Provincial Nominee Program candidates for applying Express Entry system since September 2021.

Research made by the CIC news states that Canada is having 64,890 CEC and FSWP candidates’ pendency till 1st February 2022. Fewer immigrants were welcomed due to the new Immigration Levels Plan through Express Entry this year.

It is necessary for the PGWP holders to be eligible for CEC or Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) before the expiration of their PGWP. The freezing of Invitation to Apply scares the Canadian credentialed, skilled workers of getting their permanent residency progress derailed. It is also a negative point for the Canadian employers who wish to keep them as stated by the Canadian Immigration Lawyers Association in the matter of the Express Entry pathway.

Concrete and systematic planning to tackle the short staffing in IRCC’s application processing is required necessarily. Not providing a permanent solution to the problem will lead to the casualty of resource mismanagement for the international graduates with PGWP in Canada.   

A warning has been generated by the CILA that mentions the hardships because of the September 2021 pause in the Canadian Experience Class invitations for the thousands of international students and temporary foreign workers who have contributed to Canada’s economy and society and are now only left with limited permanent residency spots for them. 

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