The Canadian government aims to welcome over one million new immigrants in the upcoming three years as per the new Immigration Levels Plan. And as usual, the Express Entry System is going to be the primary immigration system through which the government will meet its Immigration Level Target.
However, due to the havoc caused by the outbreak of coronavirus throughout the world, several services have been disrupted. Immigration is one of them. So, let us analyze the performance of the Express Entry System for the first quarter against the backdrop of the coronavirus crisis.
There is no denying that the Canadian immigration system is experiencing a change due to the harsh effects of coronavirus. But if we look at the number of invitations issued to the Candidates through the express entry in the Q1, we see that far more candidates were invited by the Immigration Ministry to apply for Canadian Permanent Residence in the first quarter of 2020 as compared to the first quarters of the last two years.
Also, the year 2020 started extremely well with a large number of ITAs being issued to immigration candidates. So, the federal government was also expecting 2020 to be a big year for Canada Express Entry.
The Immigration Levels Plan for 2020-2022 was also announced by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada before the coronavirus prevention measures such as travel restrictions were implemented by the Government. Canada set a target to welcome nearly 341,000 new immigrants this year. Out of these, 67,800 candidates would be invited to move to Canada through the Provincial Nominee Programs and the other 91,800 would be the Federal Skilled Workers invited through the Express Entry.
Launched in 2015, Express Entry is the most popular immigration system in Canada for immigrants. A potential aspirant who is willing to move to Canada can apply to the express entry through the following three economic programs:
Some of the streams of the Provincial Nominee Programs are also aligned with the Express Entry. So, immigrants can apply through PNP Express Entry linked streams to get permanent residence in Canada.
The first draw of 2020 was held on 8th January 2020 inviting as many as 3,400 candidates to apply for permanent residence. Then, the subsequent draws took place every two weeks consistently.
The Express Entry draw was also held on March 18 at a time when Canada announced to take special measures to limit the spread of coronavirus. However, in this draw, only 668 candidates with provincial nominations were invited by the IRCC. Within a week, another express entry draw happened that invited 3,232 candidates belonging to Canadian Experience Class – one of the three immigration programs of the Express Entry System.
Further, to clear the confusion erupting in the minds of applicants because of coronavirus measures, the IRCC tweeted that the Express Entry rounds are not discontinued amid the COVID-19 row. And that the ministry is still accepting all the immigration applications.
In the first quarter of 2020, Canada has issued Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to a total of 22,600 applicants belonging to the Express Entry pool of candidates. In the first Quarter, 21,200 ITAs were issued in 2019 and 17,500 in 2018. Thus, the year 2020 has, positively, yielded more number of ITAs in Q1. In addition to this, Canada held its largest Express Entry draw in this quarter by issuing ITAs to 4,500 candidates.
The Canadian provinces have express entry linked streams in their enhanced Provincial Nominee Programs. Except for Nunavut and Quebec, all other Canadian provinces have enhanced provincial nominee streams to invite express entry candidates to apply for permanent residence.
Enhanced programs provide a pathway to Canadian residence. They work in sync with the Express Entry System and allow the provincial government to nominate candidates who can help meet the labor market goals.
Since the enhanced provincial nominee programs work in conjunction with the express entry, they have shorter processing times as compared to provincial nominee programs that work independently.
Apart from the enhanced PNP, the provinces conduct their draws through the provincial nominee programs in which express entry candidates are invited by the province to secure a provincial nomination. If candidates successfully receive a provincial nomination, they are provided with an additional 600 points added to their CRS score in the next Express Entry Draw.
The most popular province of Canada, Ontario, held three draws in the first quarter. The two immigration streams of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)- Human Capital Priorities (HCP) and French-Speaking Skilled Workers were the main streams through which candidates were invited.
In the first draw, 242 candidates were invited to apply for an Ontario provincial nomination through the French-Speaking Skilled Workers stream.
The other two draws invited a total of 1,440 Express Entry candidates through the Human Capital Priorities Stream. The January 15 draw was an Ontario Tech Draw that invited 954 individuals who had work experience in one of the six given occupations of the tech sector.
The next draw invited candidates from a list of 10 skilled occupations that were needed by the province to fulfill shortages of skilled workers.
Another province that is becoming popular among new immigrants, Alberta, held a total of five draws this quarter. So far, 751 candidates are invited through the Alberta Express Entry Stream.
Other Canadian provinces that are conducting regular draws of their Express Entry linked streams are Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.
To conclude, the Express Entry System of Canada delivered a great performance in the first quarter despite the Coronavirus crisis. The Enhanced Provincial Nominee Programs also issued a large number of invitations to potential candidates. This shows that Canada is working religiously to meet its Immigration Level target. And the candidates should not stop applying to the Express Entry due to the coronavirus disruptions as the Immigration Ministry is still accepting all the applications.