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Express Entry One year after the FSWP candidate was invited

Express Entry One year after the FSWP candidate was invited

On December 23, 2020, candidates for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) were drawn from the Canada Express Entry pool for the last time.

Most of us had no idea at the time that it would signal the start of a temporary halt in Canada Express Entry invitations to FSWP candidates.

Since its inception in 1967, the FSWP has been Canada's most popular avenue for low-income immigrants. The Canadian Experience Class was launched by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (CICC) in 2008 to complement the FSWP (CEC).

The CEC's goal is to create a specific immigration path for persons who have worked in Canada (namely international students and temporary foreign workers). The Federal Skilled Crafts Program (FSTP) was established by CICC in 2013 to provide an immigration pathway for skilled trade professionals.

To coordinate these three programs, CICC established Express Entry in 2015. Anyone who met the requirements of a Canada Express Entry-managed program could construct a profile and earn a CRS score based on human capital indicators like age, education, English and/or French language skills, work experience, and Canadian experience, among other things.

CICC would send invitations to the highest-scoring candidates every two weeks to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

The justification for Canada Express Entry was that it would allow IRCC to process applications more rapidly (because they only had to process those who had been invited, rather than assessing every single application), and it would provide new immigrants with a greater chance to integrate into the Canadian economy (since CICC was skimming the top to invite the highest-scoring candidates).

FSWP candidates received the most Express Entry invites between 2015 and the start of the epidemic. They received nearly half of all invites in 2019, followed by CEC candidates. All of this came to an end in 2021.

The Immigration and Refugee Commission (CICC) started 2021 with a strategy for achieving its Immigration Levels Plan goal of landing 401,000 new permanent residents by the end of the year.

The proposal called for a larger number of temporary residents in Canada during the epidemic to be converted to permanent residents. 

The rationale for the plan was that in the face of COVID disruptions like travel restrictions and other roadblocks that may prevent overseas candidates from completing the permanent residence process, focusing on transitioning those already in Canada was the best bet for meeting the 401,000-newcomer goal by 2021.

For the most of this year, the plan comprised shifting away from considering Canada Express Entry

Candidates and instead focusing on inviting CEC candidates, including the historic February 13 draw that invited all 27,332 CEC candidates in the pool at the time (almost six times more than the previous record for invitations in one draw).

The idea also included implementing a one-time special public policy that would allow up to 90,000 vital employees and international graduates to apply for permanent residency in Canada.

One has the right to dispute the merits of the decision to exclude FSWP candidates from Express Entry lotteries for the next year.

In fact, as a variety of developments continue to unfold, such as the worldwide pandemic scenario, CICC's future policy decisions and operating capacity, Canada's labour market picture, and the economic integration of Express Entry immigrants, we will have plenty of opportunities to argue the decision's merits.

To summarize, we will most likely need years to thoroughly examine the consequences of this choice. Nonetheless, based on the information we have today, it is worthwhile to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the option.

The advantages of excluding FSWP candidates

IRCC is on track to meet its newcomer goal for the year, as it presently welcomes over 45,000 new permanent residents each month and has welcomed over 360,000 immigrants in the first eleven months of 2021.

As a result, CICC will claim that making the difficult decision to exclude FSWP candidates allowed it to get a higher level of permanent residence in a difficult operating environment.

Another advantage is that, according to Statistics Canada, persons with Canadian work experience integrate effectively into the labour market once they become permanent residents.

In addition to domestic job experience, individuals can enhance their language abilities and network while in Canada as temporary residents, which will help them find work after they arrive.

Third, throughout the epidemic, Canada has had labour shortages, and CICC's concentration on Canadian applicants has allowed the country to take a more targeted approach to alleviate shortages, particularly in critical occupations. 

The disadvantages of excluding FSWP candidates