CIC News has obtained data from IRCC showing that the CEC is accounting for some 85 per cent of all finalized Express Entry applications this year. Between January and October, IRCC issued COPRs to 108,860 CEC applicants. The department has issued 12,514 COPRs to PNP candidates (about 10 per cent of all COPRs issued to Express Entry applicants this year).

The group most negatively impacted are FSWP candidates. They are recipients of just 6,795 COPRs this year. This is only 5 per cent of all COPRs issued to Express Entry candidates this year, about 9 times less than what it was prior to the pandemic.

IRCC got off to a slow start to the year as it was finalizing between 7,000 and 10,000 Express Entry applications per month through to May. In June, this nearly doubled, and IRCC has maintained a high pace of Express Entry application processing in the second half of this year. CEC candidates are by far the greatest beneficiaries of the increased processing capacity. IRCC has also increased the number of PNP applications it is finalizing but it still is not at the same level it processed for PNP candidates in January. The data suggests IRCC has diverted its resources to processing as many CEC applications as it can as it seeks to fulfil its 401,000 newcomer goal.

There has been little improvement in the number of FSWP applications processed. In September and October, IRCC finalized under 600 FSWP applications in each of those months.

IRCC indicates it currently has a backlog of 1.8 million permanent and temporary residence applications. This includes just under 100,000 Express Entry applications as of October 27. Assuming IRCC maintains its current pace, it will have processed all of the some 48,000 CEC applications remaining by January 2022. The department has indicated it would like to cut its Express Entry inventory by more than half before considering resuming invitations to CEC and FSWP candidates. This suggests IRCC will be in better position to consider broadening its Express Entry invitations in early 2022, when the Express Entry backlog is likely to be around half what it was in late October.

IRCC held 27 CEC draws this year but has paused them since September 14. Meanwhile, FSWP candidates have not been drawn from the pool since December 23, 2020. There were some 165,000 FSWP candidates in the Express Entry pool as of October 25, 2021, which means they represent some 85 per cent of all current Express Entry candidates.

IRCC is well on its way to achieving its immigration target this year. It has landed nearly 314,000 permanent residents through to October, and in recent months has been landing over 45,000 per month. The department is currently in the process of determining Canada’s immigration levels target for 2022, as well as what Express Entry strategy to pursue next year. We can expect to learn more in the coming months. Major announcements still to come include the issuance of mandate letters to each federal minister, including immigration minister Sean Fraser. In addition, Fraser will unveil Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024 by February 10th. The mandate letter and new levels plan will provide stakeholders with more guidance on IRCC’s policy priorities in 2022 and beyond.

Pages: 1 2