Coronavirus and Express Entry draws in first half of 2020
Posted on June 29, 2020
The Coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on the immigration plans of many countries including Canada. In fact, before the pandemic escalated, Canada announced its immigration plans in March this year where it planned to invite 341,000 immigrants in 2020, an additional 351,000 in 2021, and welcome another 361,000 immigrants in 2022. The end goal was to invite 1 million immigrants to the country by 2022.
In fact, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held the biggest Express Entry draw on February 19, where it invited 4,900 candidates in a single draw.
Canada is determined that the Coronavirus pandemic should not put the brakes on its immigration plans though it had imposed travel restrictions in the wake of the pandemic. The country’s immigration minister Marco Mendicino reiterated this and said that immigration will be the key to the success and economic recovery of Canada post the Coronavirus crisis.
Express Entry draws during Coronavirus
In line with these plans, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) continues to hold Express Entry draws and the first half of 2020 has seen the largest and smallest Express Entry draws.
While the biggest Express Entry draw was held in February, the smallest draw was a PNP draw that issued 118 ITAs on April 15. This draw had the highest CRS cutoff of the year at 808.
However changes were induced by the pandemic, the Express Entry draws that consists of Foreign Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), were no longer held every two weeks but are now seeing a trend of two draws being held within a few days or even within a few hours of each other.
As for the number of Express Entry draws held till date, 21 draws have been held including the draw on June 25 whereas only 12 draws were held in the first half of 2019.
The number of Invitations to Apply or ITAs have also been higher in the first six months of this year compared to 2019. While 49,900 ITAs were issued this year till June, in 2019 only 41,800 ITAs were issued during the first half of the year.
Express Entry categories
The IRCC has conducted more Express Entry draws in the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). These candidates were targeted because they are most likely to be in Canada at the time of the draw.
Most of the provinces held Express Entry linked PNP draws in the first half of this year.
There were more Express Entry draws targeted at CEC candidates in the first half of this year but they had significantly lesser CRS requirements.
FSWP and FSTP candidates were not invited unless they had a provincial nomination. However, Express Entry candidates who are at present outside of Canada and do not have Canadian work experience or a Canadian job offer have been issued ITAs through Express Entry-linked PNP draws.
The fate of Express Entry draws in the second half of the year will be determined by the decisions of the government once it lifts the travel restrictions on June 30. However, the immigration minister has reiterated that Canada is keen to continue its immigration programs to invite more immigrants into the country.