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2021 CEC and PNP Draw Reflection under Express Entry

As the pandemic has put complexity and disruptions on immigration under Express Entry - IRCC has relied on the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) as a primary source to meet the Immigration Levels Plan for 2021, a target to land 401,000 new permanent residents.

This can be demonstrated by the historic CEC draw in February of this year, inviting roughly 27,300 candidates to apply for permanent residence with a record low Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 75. To give perspective, the average cutoff scores in previous years since 2015 were around 450 under all Express Entry streams. In summary, this shift in strategy allowed for many temporary residents that were already residing and working in Canada the ability to apply for permanent residency under the CEC.

In addition, we saw the introduction of temporary residence to permanent residence for over 90,000 essential workers and international graduates already residing in Canada, demonstrating that IRCC was committed to achieve its target to land 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021.

As we approach the end of the year, we can now see that the only Express Entry draws this year were under CEC and the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Yes, it is true that these draws and the policy shift to promote temporary residence to permanent residence has successfully allowed IRCC to make progress towards achieving its immigration level targets. In contrast, it has negatively affected many Federal Skilled Worker/ Trade (FSWP/FSTC) candidates not residing in Canada, as we have not seen an Express Entry draw for FSWP/FSTC in all of 2021.

What's Next?

Although we as immigration practitioners cannot make guarantees on the future of Canadian immigration, it is probable to think that FSWC/FSTC draws will resume in the future.

As we wait until the new year to see what the 2022 Express Entry strategy will be - it is not unreasonable to assume that the 2021 policy shifts were put in place temporarily and that we will potentially see FSWP/FSTC specific draws. This is due to the fact that we can see FSWP/FSTC draws play a significant role under Express Entry in previous years. After all, the strength of Canada’s economy is measured in part by the labour force paying taxes to fund the public services Canadians cherish.

Moreover, as provinces have continued to rely on PNPs to mitigate labour market disruptions, it is likely that PNP draws will continue to play an important role in the coming year. Just last week one of Canada’s prairie provinces, Saskatchewan announced a Hard-To-Fill Skills Pilot Program. This pilot is targeted to the province’ sectors with the highest labour demands including health, manufacturing, agriculture, ag-tech, construction, hospitality and retail. This goes to demonstrate that the need for skilled workers across Canada is not going away anytime soon. Therefore, It is imperative for skilled workers not residing in Canada to continue to look for PNP opportunities as they are known to award Express Entry candidates an additional 600 CRS points.

As mentioned, although we as immigration practitioners cannot make guarantees on the future of Canadian immigration, it is probable to hope that FSWC/FSTC draws will resume in the future. Moreover, we will likely see more PNP draws in the coming year. As there are more than 80 provincial immigration streams, ICL Immigration is here to help you find the right path.


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Authored by:

Ege Kardelen

Canada: +1 905 769 0421

Turkey: +90 212 900 3568


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