The Q2 of 2021 proved to be another record-breaking period for Canada immigration. In Q2 of 2021, Canada has issued invitations to 44,591 immigration candidates. They were invited to apply for Canada PR via the Express Entry system.
The number of Express Entry candidates who were issued invitations in Q2 exceeded the record of 44,124 in the Q1 of 2021.
As of June 30, 2021, IRCC has invited 88,715 candidates in all. The number of ITAs for permanent residents exceeded the previous record that was set in 2017.
About Express Entry
Think about Express Entry as a system of management that deals with immigration applications. It has a candidate pool where all the profiles of Canada immigration candidates at the federal are stored.
Express Entry is the most popular Canada immigration process. Canada has aimed at inviting 108,500 new immigrants in 2021 alone via Express Canada immigration programs managed by Express Entry. This is more than any other immigration program including PNP.
The Express Entry system manages applications to 3 Federal High-Skilled immigration programs namely CEC, FSTP, and FSWP.
Foreign nationals can use this system to submit a profile to the Express Entry pool so that they could be considered for an ITA for Canada PR.
The decision on who gets the ITA is made by the IRCC. For this, CRS, a scoring matrix, is used. CRS ranks profiles in the Express Entry pool on the basis of an immigration candidate’s education, skilled work experience, age, and other factors. What comes in the purview of skilled work is determined on the basis of the NOC.
IRCC issues ITAs through regular Express Entry draws to the candidates in the pool who score the highest. Once the candidates get an ITA, they can file an application for Canada immigration directly to the IRCC.
Immigration is a shared responsibility between the federal and provincial governments of Canada. However, only IRCC can approve requests for Canada PR.
What was special about Q2 immigration draws?
In the Q2 of 2021, Canada has conducted program-specific draws only. The pattern followed was 1 PNP draw followed by a CEC draw.
IRCC adopted this pattern and mode of conducting draws to bring in Express Entry candidates who are most possibly already residing in Canada. This could lead to avoiding hurdles related to inviting overseas candidates who were affected by travel restrictions due to COVID-19. In May 2021 close to 95% of CEC candidates were in Canada as per the data with IRCC. About 30% of PNP candidates were available in Canada in the same period.
IRCC held more draws in Q2 of 2021. 14 draws were conducted while only 10 were held in Q1. The department had invited all candidates in the pool eligible for CEC in the pool. IRCC had taken a break from conducting draws in Q1.
The sizes of immigration draws were greater in Q2 of 2021. Besides the huge draw on February 13, 2021, Canada conducted larger draws in that quarter. Starting in April 2021, there were CEC draws that issued up to 6,000 ITAs. In late June 2021, a PNP draw crossed 1,000 ITAs for the first time ever.
Bigger draws and lower CRS cut-offs had become the norm. The new trend allowed candidates from the CEC in the 300s to start getting invitations. CEC candidates got lower CRS requirements since May 2021.
The latest Canada immigration draw only needed candidates to have a CRS score of 357 points. Barring the draw on February 13, 2021, the CRS scores would have been the lowest of any CEC draw ever.
Projection of Express Entry in the coming 6 months
FSWP and FSTP candidates haven’t been included in the Canada immigration draws so far in 2021. Before the pandemic, nearly half of all ITAs went to FSWP candidates.
But since COVID-19, Canada has focused on providing Canada PR pathways to immigration candidates who are present in the country. This will rule out any issues with people facing pandemic-related hurdles such as the closure of services and travel restrictions in Canada.
Close to 95% of FSWP candidates currently overseas as per the data with IRCC in May 2021. This is because Canadian work experience isn’t required to be eligible for the visa as in the case of the Canadian Experience Class.
It’s expected that Canada will host more all-program draws in the latter half of this year. There could also be immigration draw exclusively for FSTP candidates this year.
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PR – Permanent Residence/Permanent Resident
CRS – Comprehensive Ranking System
PNP – Provincial Nominee Program
ITA – Invitation to Apply
IRCC – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
PGWP – Post Graduate Work Permit
NOC – National Occupational Classification
FSWP – Federal Skilled Worker Program
FSTP – Federal Skill Trades Program
CEC – Canadian Experience Class