The IRCC also suggested that the processing time for the FSW 2022 would increase to 36 months. In contrast, there will be a decrease by 50% in the overall Express Entry candidates.
The office wrote the memo in November 2021 but only released it to the public on the 19th of January 2022. This was due to access to information requests. The memo provides a stark contrast in Canada’s immigration priorities for 2022 compared to previous years.
The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) pathway was one of the most common programs for immigration to bring in skilled workers. In addition, the CEC had been receiving a constant stream of applications for the past decade. They included qualified and eligible applicants who had recent or ongoing skilled work experience.
The immigration office shifted the priority for the FSW and CEC 2022 for a simple reason. The focus is on the upcoming Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence Pathway (TR2PR) and the resettlement of Afghans to Canada.
Express Entry Overview
The IRCC has established the Express Entry system to manage the intake of economic immigration applicants from 1st January 2015. They divided the system into four categories:
- Federal Skilled Worker (FSW)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
- Federal Skilled Trades (FST)
- Portion of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
To be eligible to apply for these programs, you must first receive an invitation from the IRCC. While your luck may be a determining factor in this system, the draw eliminates the first-in, first-out method of processing applications. This results in shorter processing times. The IRCC has aimed to process 80% of all complete Express Entry applicants in less than six months.
If you wish to be a candidate for any of these programs, you must create an account through the IRCC online portal. You can meet the eligibility criteria for one or more of the above classes through Express Entry. This allows you to automatically enter the pool of candidates.
However, there are instances where you do not have a qualifying offer of arranged employment or a provincial nomination. If that is your case, you need to register on Canada’s Job Bank. The IRCC gives you 30 days following your profile submission to register with the Job Bank.
Latest Express Entry Draw
The latest Express Entry draw, the provincial nomination (PNP), was held on February 2, 2022. 1070 PNP candidates from the Express Entry pool were invited by the IRCC to apply for their Permanent Residence (PR) in Canada. This was the 215th draw since January 2015.
The candidates were given a nominee certificate from the PNP pathway based on the province’s demands to fill their demographic gaps and labor market. Besides, PNP candidates usually require a lower competitive CRS score which gives them a better chance to apply for their permanent residence. The IRCC specifically designed the PNP class in the Express Entry draw for a specific group of individuals. This group of people would not select otherwise in an all-program draw due to lower CRS scores.
However, the IRCC is holding smaller PNP draws while pausing the Federal High Skilled Worker programs until July 2022. Also, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser stated in a recent teleconference that more work was required before the FSW draws could be resumed. Minister Fraser has also hinted that there is a potential for moving to occupation-based Express Entry draws.
If you want to maximize your chances in the PNP pathway, we recommend that you check your province’s requirements as they differ from province to province. Most require a connection to the province to be eligible to apply. These could be:
- A work experience
- A family member
- A job offer
Other provinces may operate on the Expression of Interest system. The immigration office also invited several PNP candidates directly from the Express Entry pool. However, these requirements change regularly to respond to the needs of the labor market. Therefore, there is always a chance that you may receive an invitation.
CRS Score Average Among Candidates
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is a point system used by the IRCC to evaluate how many points they attribute to your Express Entry profile. The more points you get, the more competitive you are in the pool which increases your chances of being invited to apply for permanent residence.
On 31st January 2022, the average score for people in the Entry Express pool was in the 351-400 range. However, you should note that the CRS score cut-offs change from draw to draw.
Based on the data for the last five PNP draws, including the last PNP draw in February 2022, the average minimum CRS score was 729. However, the year 2021 has the lowest overall minimum CRS score average, ranging from 682 to 778.
In contrast, looking at the Federal Skilled Trades CRS score only, the average minimum from the last four draws is 347. Yet, you should note an increase in the average CRS score, from 284 in September 2018, to 415 in August 2020.
Additionally, the last five CEC draws had an average minimum CRS score of 399, which includes the last CEC draw on 14th September 2021. For the particular CEC draw in September 2021, the CRS cut-off score was 462, which increased significantly from the one in August 2021 whose CRS cut-off score was 403.
Prediction For Express Entry Draws 2022
The IRCC provided several updates in their memo released in November 2021 which we explain below.
1. No FST, FSW, And CEC Draw
Based on the last memo provided by the IRCC, there are no new FSW, CEC, and FST draws until July 2022. The IRCC stated that many of the candidates in the Express Entry pool had already received their invitations and submitted their PR applications.
Due to the pandemic, there has been a cumulative backlog of applications which resulted in the IRCC pausing the Federal High Skilled (FHS) streams for the first six months of 2022. There is an estimated number of 76,000 applicants in the Express Entry class in their inventory in November 2021. However, draws for the PNP pathway will continue.
2. Fewer Invitations For Express Entry
In 2021, about 110,000 candidates through the Express Entry FHS streams (FSW, CEC, and FST programs) were granted their permanent residence. Unfortunately, the Canadian government will reduce this number by 50% by 2022.
Canada is shifting its immigration priorities from Federal High Skilled programs to new immigrant admissions for:
- Afghans’ resettlement and Temporary Residence
- Permanent Residence program (TR2PR).
The pandemic inspired this change in perspective to enable more people currently living in Canada to become permanent residents.
Since many of the TR2PR applicants were not eligible for Express Entry, the IRCC stated that the FHS target would be significantly reduced. However, they will release more information on Canada’s new targets about the Immigration Levels Plan for 2022-2024 on February 14, 2022.
3. CRS Score Cut-Off Rising Above 500
When the FST, CEC, and FSW draws resume in July 2022, the IRCC has predicted that the CRS score cut-offs would rise to record-high for a minimum of six months. This prediction is based on the current composition of the Express Entry pool. While the CRS score cut-off is dependent on many factors, the IRCC will confirm the real CRS score cut-off when the regular FHS program draws will resume.
4. FSW Processing Times Up To 36 Months
Several people who have applied through the FSW program have been waiting for more than a year for the processing of their applications. The massive backlog is due to the closing of Canada’s borders in March 2020. Many of the FSW applications were deprioritized so other applications could be processed, as stated in the IRCC memo.
When the memo was written, the FSW processing times were already at 20.4 months which was three times longer than the service standard. However, the IRCC expects the processing times to rise by an additional 16 months throughout 2022. Fortunately for CEC applicants, the processing time is shorter at 7.6 months which is closer to the six-month standard.
Other Programs You Can Apply Under
With the inconvenience of the new Express Entry predictions for 2022, it is no wonder that some people are choosing other options. While this pathway is one of the most common ones for skilled workers, it is not your only option. The IRCC offers several immigration pathways that you could be eligible for:
- Study permits
- Economic immigration pilots
- Working holiday visas
- Family class, and many more!
If you are not too sure what pathway you are eligible for, why not ask a professional to take a look at your profile. There might be another better immigration option for you. You can easily book a consultation with our immigration experts who have several years of experience in helping people to choose the best immigration pathways based on your NOC code and credentials. Our immigration consultants are just a phone call away!