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Since the outbreak of Covid-19, we have been living with the epidemic for almost four years. In this year 2022, although more and more countries are gradually opening up, the new crown epidemic is still affecting our lives to some extent. Most people who had planned to immigrate abroad have been delayed by the epidemic.

 

Immigration to Canada has also been affected. As a result of the epidemic, the Canadian government has been updating its travel entry rules and implementing a policy of prioritizing applicants from within Canada. This was done in order to achieve immigration goals in the face of the epidemic, which also created a backlog of immigration applications.

 

Despite this, the Canadian government is committed to a triple immigration policy goal that includes strengthening the economy, reuniting families, and helping people with humanitarian needs.

 

Canada’s immigration level targets were increased during the epidemic. According to a previous release from Immigration Canada, here is a snapshot of immigration developments in Canada to watch in the coming year.

Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024 and 2023-2025

Canada plans to admit 431,645 permanent residents in 2022, 447,005 in 2023, and 451,000 in 2024. In addition, the federal government has indicated that it hopes to increase the rate of new immigrant admissions to 1.14% of the Canadian population by 2024.

 

The program highlights for new immigrants include:

  1. Economic immigration accounts for nearly 60% of the total.
  2. Special measures to assist vulnerable groups, such as granting permanent residency to refugee claimants working in health care during an epidemic.
  3. Provide a haven for people facing persecution through humanitarian immigration.
  4. Granting permanent status to essential workers who apply for permanent residency through the Temporary Resident Amnesty Program in the spring of 2021.

 

In 2022, the Government of Canada expects that approximately 60% of new immigrants will arrive in Canada through economic pathways such as the Express Entry (EE), Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), and the Temporary Permanent Residency (TR2PR) program to be introduced in 2021.

Canada's Immigration Goals for the Next Three Years

Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) will become the main admissions program for economic immigrants. This year, immigration authorities have also admitted 83,500 new immigrants through the PNP.

 

On the other hand, the Immigration Service also confirmed that the number of Express Entry admissions will be reduced by half this year. However, by 2024, it will return to normal fast-track admissions levels, with an estimated 111,5000 fast-track immigrants to be admitted.

 

The new program in 2022 will also recognize the importance of family reunification for new immigrants by ensuring that spousal and child reunification applications are processed within 12 months.

 

The Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has not held an Express Entry lottery for Federal Skilled Worker Program (FWSP) candidates since December 2020, and the CEC lottery has been suspended since September 2021. Without these lotteries, Express Entry candidates who are eligible to immigrate through these programs will not be able to apply.

Why is the FWSP Lottery Suspended?

Prior to the outbreak, FSWP candidates were invited to apply for permanent residency because of their relatively large numbers in the Express Entry pool, however, more people were invited to apply for permanent residency than any other program administered by the Express Entry system.

 

In addition, the reason for the cessation of the FSWP can be traced back to the global outbreak of the new crown in March of 2020. Canada closed its borders to nationality travel. Immigrant applicants from Canada and outside the U.S. who are approved for immigration without a waiver are not allowed to complete the step of landing in Canada and thus becoming permanent residents.

 

Since FSWP candidates are generally overseas, granting them a waiver to apply for permanent residence will result in the applicant not being able to complete their landing in Canada. Over time, the validity of their Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document will expire and they will not be able to become permanent residents with an expired document.

 

In order to achieve its immigration objectives within these travel restrictions, the IRCC focuses its immigration objectives on applicants who are already in Canada. As a result, the IRCC has conducted a large Express Entry lottery for Canadian Experience Program (CEC) candidates and has begun a Temporary Residency to Permanent Residency (TR to PR) temporary immigration program.

Why has the CEC Lottery Been Suspended Since the Fall?

The IRCC invited a record number of CEC candidates at one time last year and also invited every CEC candidate in the Express Entry pool last February, sending out a total of 27,332 invitations. However, the lowest scoring candidate invited had a CRS score of 75.

 

This situation is somewhat similar to that of the FSWP candidates, where the pool of CEC candidates grew to the point where the IRCC was unable to meet its previously committed processing standards, and the IRCC decided to suspend applications for the program to allow time to process applications already on the list.

Current Status of Express Entry

Canada conducts an Express Entry lottery for Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates every two weeks. However, these candidates are eligible to participate in one of the federal high-skill programs and then receive a provincial nomination. Subsequently, in the case of a provincial nomination, candidates receive 600 CRS points and have the opportunity to be invited in a round of invitations for PNP candidates.

 

Canada has also indicated that these invitations will continue while the IRCC processes the backlog of other applications.

IRCC Application Backlog Progress

According to the IRCC report, as of mid-March, there were 1.84 million cases pending, with specific data provided for each category. The main categories are applications for naturalization, applications for permanent residency in Canada, applications for student visas, and applications for work and travel visas.

 

The overall numbers include applications for Canadian citizenship, permanent residency, visitor visas, student visas, and temporary worker visas. However, compared to the February figures, the inventory has increased by approximately 30,000, with the majority of the increase coming from temporary resident visas.

 

Due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the IRCC has slowed down the processing of temporary visas this month and has freed up more manpower resources for Ukrainian refugee applicants and immigration cases.

 

According to the data provided by IRCC for February and March, the backlog of student visa renewals, VR visitor records, work visa renewals and work visa applications is increasing. On the other hand, the backlog of study visa applications and visitor visa TRVs has slowed down. Overall, the provisional visa inventory for March was 23,894 higher than in February.

 

The IRCC needs to resume the FSWP and CEC lotteries in order to meet its immigration goals this year. In order for the IRCC to achieve Express Entry for 2023 in its 2022-2024 immigration plan, the IRCC will need to continue to issue Invitations to Apply for Permanent Residence (ITAs) in 2022. it will take approximately one year for Express Entry candidates to submit their applications for permanent residence. However, once an ITA is granted, there will be 60 days to submit the application, after which the application will take at least six months to complete. After approval, the registration process needs to be completed within a specified period of time.

 

Another reason to be concerned is that the IRCC may conduct a FSWP or CEC lottery in the coming months to address the loss of status of workers in Canada.

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These are some of the issues and concerns for immigrants to Canada in 2022. Learning more about life in Canada before you immigrate will help you in the future. We provide timely analysis and guidance on immigration news and markets overseas to help you make wise immigration decisions. Simard & Associates brings together a team of experienced immigration consultants to help you navigate the immigration hurdles and find your ideal home abroad.