IRCC still held draws through the pandemic in an attempt to meet its pre-set records for the year. If you were in Canada as a CEC candidate, then you would not have been affected by the travel restrictions, which meant you could still participate in IRCC draws.
On the other hand, the federal government also had a promise to uphold. PNP candidates received invites as an effort by the federal government to support provincial immigration goals. The federal worker program candidates were an exception to this federal government compromise because most of them were overseas and directly affected by the international travel ban.
Now that the pandemic has reached a plateau in infection rates, the IRCC is finally ready to resume normal pre-pandemic functions. The first all-program draws will be held in July 2022. The IRCC had started in July of 2021 but stopped in December and has not held the draws until now.
2021 was a tough year for the IRCC because they had to make the tough choice of shifting efforts from the backlogged immigration applications to admitting 90,000 new permanent residents who had already settled in the country for work. Making this decision inevitably made the backlog worse. Luckily they have had time since September of 2021 to work on processing the existing backlog in the express entry-managed programs.
During this time, the IRCC invested in reducing the backlog by 50,000 applications, which would not be possible if they had proceeded to pause issuing “Invitations to Apply.” In June, Sean Fraser, Canada’s Immigration Minister, announced the resuming of express entry draws for Federal Skilled Worker Program and CEC candidates. The announcement came just in time for summer when Canada experienced the most applications and immigration. By the time IRCC resumes operations in a month, they will be fully equipped to process applications within six months. This is great news for applicants who can start making the necessary preparations to take advantage of the new opportunities.