IRCC will resume invitations for FSWP and CEC in July; and offers open work permits to PGWP holders
Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser recently announced that express invitation to FSWP and CEC candidates would continue “in early July.”
Minister Sean Fraser has made a number of other important announcements, such as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which will offer an open work permit extension of up to 18 months to Postgraduation Work Permit (PGWP) holders.
Summary of today's major announcements
- Express entry invitations for FSWP, CEC and FSTP candidates will continue from early July.
- Most new Express Entry applications will be processed within the six-month standard of the service. According to the IRCC, the current processing time of Express Entry ranges from seven months to more than 20 months.
- Persons whose PGWP expired between January and December 2022 will be entitled to an additional work permit for a maximum of 18 months from this summer. The IRCC is working on a simplified process and will provide further details “in the coming weeks”. The IRCC says about 95,000 PGWPs will expire by 2022 and an estimated 50,000 PGWPs will benefit from this new open work permit.
- Applicants no longer have to stay in Canada for the duration of their application.
- Applicants who also apply for a work permit while waiting for a permanent residence permit will receive work permits valid until the end of 2024. As a result, all permanent residence applications will be completed before applicants have to reapply for a temporary residence permit.
- To support family reunification, family members involved in the main applicant’s application for permanent residence outside Canada may be entitled to their own open work permit.
Express entry during a pandemic-
This year, express entry was the main way to welcome economy-class immigrants to Canada.
Express Entry is an application management system for the following three immigration programs: the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). It also administers part of the Provincial Nomination Program (PNP). It is a score-based system where qualified candidates obtain the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score for human capital factors such as their age, education, language skills, work experience, etc.
Prior to the pandemic, the IRCC will challenge the highest-scoring candidates to apply for immigration. These drawings often do not select candidates based on their qualification program.
Earlier during the pandemic, the IRCC focused on inviting CEC candidates to achieve their goal of attracting a record high number of immigrants a year amid travel bans. CEC candidates are always in Canada and are therefore not subject to the travel bans imposed by Canada in 2020-2021. This focus allowed Canada to plant more than 405,000 permanent residents last year, the highest number of new residents in its history.
The IRCC also focused on inviting PNP candidates during the pandemic to support the province’s immigration goals. The combination of this shift in express entry principles and pandemic challenges has led to backwardness in the immigration system, including express entry. As a result, the IRCC has not invited FSWP candidates since December 2020 and CEC candidates since September 2021.
The lack of FSWP and CEC invitations comes at a time when Canada is facing a historic shortage of jobs. Unemployment is low and vacancies are approaching record highs.
CEC candidates are likely to be international students who have graduated from a designated Canadian educational institute and are in the process of obtaining a graduate job permit. The PGWP is an open work permit that allows international graduates to gain a year’s work experience in Canada, which they must always apply for permanent residence. In general, you can only obtain a PGWP once, which means that if you cannot apply for permanent residence while you have a PGWP, you run the risk of losing your work permit status unless you find another work permit for which you are qualified.
As a result, CEC candidates lose their work permit status because the lack of express registration invitations (ITA) means they cannot apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) while you wait. As the name suggests, BOWP “bridges” the gap between the expiration of a work permit, such as PGWP, and a candidate who eventually obtains permanent residence. BOWP allows some residents to continue working in Canada for whatever employer they want. Between January and July 2021, the IRCC exempted its PGWP policy by offering a one-time open work permit that lasted 18 months. The aim is to give PGWP holders more time to gain the necessary work experience to be entitled to permanent residence if their employment prospects in Canada are adversely affected by a pandemic (eg eliminating an early phase of a pandemic).
Meanwhile, the FSWP has been the main source of wealthy foreign immigrants in Canada since its inception in 1967 until recently, when the IRCC decided to focus on inviting and processing immigrants. This temporary change in policy triggered by the pandemic has reduced the influx of foreign-born immigrants into the Canadian workforce in the midst of a historically tight labor market due to the aging of the Canadian population and the pandemic, which has resulted in major labor market changes.
The IRCC is currently working to gain 55,000 permanent Express Entry residents by 2022, about half of its 2021 target. The reason for the temporary reduction of express entry targets is to be able to remove the Temporary Residence Program (TR2PR) and adjust other priorities. Between May and November 2021, the IRCC invited up to 90,000 international graduates and key personnel to apply for permanent residence through the TR2PR program.
According to the Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024, the number of Express Entry landings will increase over the next two years, with the IRCC aiming to welcome more than 110,000 new arrivals through Express Entry in 2024.
The IRCC reports that the backlog of express entries fell by more than half from almost 112,000 people in September 2021 to 48,000 in March 2022. It also doubled the number of permanent residence decisions made in the first quarter of 2022. compared to the same period in 2021 The IRCC completed 156,000 permanent residence decisions between January 1 and March 31, 2022. In addition, the IRCC processed more than 100,000 work permit applications in the first quarter of 2022, compared to 58,000 in the same period last year.