Express Entry in 2022: how immigration to Canada will change
As early as July of this year, the Canadian government promises to resume selections for the major immigration programs.
It used to be that immigration through programs that worked through the Express Entry system was probably the fastest way to get into Canada, because applications were processed in an average of 6 months, and within about a year, candidates who were invited had a high probability of moving to a new place of residence.
Today I want to talk about the speed of processing applications, which was affected first by the pandemic and then by the war in Ukraine, as well as talk about the significant changes in Express Entry.
Federal immigration programs
Let me first tell you briefly what the major programs are and what happens with the selections. There are three federal programs in Canada for people who want to become permanent residents:
They all work through a system called Express Entry. There you fill out a profile and are awarded points for age, education, language skills, work experience and other factors. Among those who have applied to move to Canada, the candidates with the most points are selected.
If you are new to this topic, read how immigration to Canada works.
Draws for Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Skilled Trades have not been held since December 2020, and for Canadian Experience Class since September 2021. But this summer, in July, the government promises to resume them.
One can hardly count on getting a permanent residency through federal programs right now, because the Department of Immigration delays the processing of applications due to the long waiting list. Hundreds of thousands of applicants who have long applied and were invited to participate in selections are still waiting. Canada is trying to shorten processing times, but so far has not been very successful.
Express Entry System
Back to immigration through Express Entry. There are advantages there. For example, you can come live in any Canadian region except Quebec. And the skilled trades program doesn't require a job offer. Instead, you must be a young educated candidate with good English. So there are a lot of people who want to immigrate through the federal programs. But the programs may change this year.
Rumors that the Express Entry system might change have been around for some time, and my wife Ivanka, who works as a licensed immigration counselor, and I have already talked about it.
At the time, it was just a guess based on Canada's budget, with a line item for Express Entry upgrades. Now, a spokesperson for the Minister of Immigration has confirmed that there will be changes, and they are now discussed in Parliament.
I'll tell you right off the bat, that it's not a final government decision yet, but I think it's very likely, so it's better to know ahead of time what to prepare for if you're considering federal immigration programs for yourself.
The Director-General of Immigration Canada has proposed changes to the system to Parliament. The most important thing is that Express Entry want to target the improvement of Canada's economy. That is to invite not just any educated people, but those with in-demand professions.
In particular, it is proposed to create separate categories of candidates depending on the needs of the labor market. For example, if Canada needs technology specialists right now, they can choose from the entire pool of candidates who have experience or education in this sector and invite them in a separate draw. In the same way they suggest calling people in other professions or those who know French.
Why is it necessary? The explanation is simple. The problem with Express Entry was that the system was inviting young, highly qualified people regardless of their profession. But engineers, doctors, or teachers cannot simply get a job in Canada because such professions require a license. Sometimes it is enough to pass an exam to be able to work, but sometimes you have to retrain.
That is why many of these educated candidates could not find a job after moving to Canada. And if you are unemployed, you spend the money you bring, or you go to retrain and spend money again, or you get some low-skilled job that does not require education.
So far, the Government of Canada has not identified the areas of demand for which there will be targeted draws, it is only at the stage of development. But it is expected that the Department of Immigration will select areas in conjunction with employers who are interested in hiring immigrants, with the Department of Employment, as well as with the provincial and territorial governments of Canada.
That Express Entry would have targeted selections for certain professions was one of our assumptions last year. As you can see, the information is confirmed.
But there were also things in Canada's budget that are not yet in the question. For example, the fact that they will support women who apply for immigration, and that it will be easier to get permanent residency for people who have already arrived in the country on a work visa. It is not clear about women, but the second point, we can say, is already working, and for a long time, because for people with Canadian experience constantly start some new immigration flows both at the federal level, and in individual provinces.
If you are going to immigrate through one of the federal programs, you should create a profile in the system now to have time to fill out everything. At the very least, you will need to pass a language test and certify your educational diploma, which will take some time.
Read what other steps you need to take before you move to Canada.
But also be prepared for the fact that conditions may change at any time. Once again, nothing has been finalized yet, and some officials are critical of these amendments, so things can still be edited. It is not a bad idea to find an alternate immigration option apart from Express Entry, for example, through one of the provincial programs, through job search in Canada, or through acquiring a Canadian education.
If you need help with your immigration route and paperwork, contact our legal immigration company.
Alex Pavlenko, founder of Immigrant.Today