This year Canada, through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), invited only 919 Express Entry candidates’ applications for permanent residence by the end of March. It is slightly lower than its previous invitation of 924 PNP candidates. Unlike former invitations for application for permanent residences, this year’s was a wee extraordinary because the agency only invited Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates. Furthermore, the candidates had to have a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) of 785. The number seemed a little high, but the fact that the candidates get an automatic 600 points once they are nominated makes it fairer. It, therefore, means that the lowest-scoring candidates would have 185 base points once they are not selected. The 919 invited candidates have two months to apply for Canadian permanent residence from the 30th of March.

A Glimmer of Hope for Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWP) Candidates.

On the 24th of March, Sean Fraser, the Canadian immigration minister, during a Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration meeting, gave a hint on the extension of similar provisions to PGWP while answering questions on the state of the immigration system in the country. On the other hand, the minister stated that there was no specific date for resuming the draws for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) after IRCC paused its express entry program in September last year. THEREFORE, the CEC potential candidates are stranded because they cannot apply for permanent residence this year. For the individuals whose work permit validity is expiring, their situation is even more worrying. During the former years, the Express Entry draw was the salvation for such immigrants who desired to obtain permanent residence in Canada. With the Express Entry stalemate this year, the temporary workers will not be able to process their permanent citizenship. Most of the workers in Canada hold a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) that cannot be extended and would love to get a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP). However, they are only left with the option of getting a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) supported work permit or quitting their jobs and even leaving Canada.

Since IRCC has not officially announced to block qualified CEC, and Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) candidates’ statuses from expiring, the minister hinted there might be a chance to extend PGWPs to the satisfaction of the affected candidates. The minister expressed his strong will and commitment to extending post-graduate work permits stating that some policy has to be finalized before any changes to PGWP are made. The minister’s statement gives a scintilla of hope to the desperate candidates, especially the FSWP candidates who have not been invited for application since December 2020. The FSWP situation had been worsened by the lack of communication on when their draws would resume safe for mere public records only available by access to information requests.

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