Most economic and employment based permanent immigration to Canada is funneled through the Express Entry system. This includes the Federal Skilled Worker class, the Canada Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Trades class, and a part of the Provincial Nominee class. Express Entry is a competitive points-based system in which points are awarded for factors including language ability in English and French; education; skilled work experience; age; and the availability of a job offer in Canada. About every two weeks, the top ranking candidates in the Express Entry “pool” are invited to submit applications for permanent residence. Due to COVID related backlogs and COVID related travel bans, however, the Express Entry program has been virtually shut down. Since September 15, 2021, only provincial nominees have received invitations to apply. There have been no draws for Federal Skilled Workers since December 2020.
On April 22, 2022, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced that Express Entry draws for all classes will resume in early July. It is expected that draws will approximate the pre-pandemic numbers of about 4,000 to 5,000 per bi-weekly draw. Express Entry profiles in the Express Entry pool expire after one year. Therefore, every profile in the pool as of the last Skilled Worker draw in December 2020 has now expired, unless re-entered. As a result, new candidates with strong language test results, three or more years of skilled work experience, and an advanced degree stand a good chance of receiving invitations to apply by the end of 2022.
Minister Fraser also committed to resume processing of Express Entry applications within the previous service standard of six months.