There are things to consider when deciding if you want to start the Express Entry process from abroad. Canada is planning to welcome at least 401,000 immigrants annually beginning from 2021, with over one-quarter set to arrive via the Express Entry system.
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are already starting the year off strong. On Saturday, the immigration department held a historically large Express Entry draw with a historically low CRS requirement. There were 27,332 principal applicants invited, who only needed a CRS of at least Seven-five (75). These immigration candidates needed to be qualified for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) in order to be invited.
In addition to CEC-specific draws, the immigration department has also held draws targeting candidates who got a nomination from a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). After the Feb. 13 draw, the number of invitations issued was three times what it was at the same time in 2020.
We know the Express Entry is unpredictable, but we do know that Canada is committed to welcoming 108,500 new immigrants through Express Entry-managed programs in 2021.
COVID-19 related travel restrictions are standing in the way of achieving this ambitious project, but the immigration minister has assured that efforts will be focused on finding immigration pathways for temporary residents in Canada to transition to permanent residence.
If you are staying in Canada, now is the time to get your profile in the Express Entry system, as long as you are qualified. While your profile is in the Express Entry pool waiting for an Invitation to Apply (ITA), you can always take steps to improve your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, like lodging a new language test results or Educational Credential Assessment.
What if I Stay Outside Canada?
The immigration department will welcome foreign skilled workers when travel restrictions are lifted, according to a media release.
When deciding on the best time for you to lodge your profile into the Express Entry pool, know that the process can take several months from the time you decide you want to immigrate to Canada to when you are actually approved for Canadian permanent residence.
In order to enter the EE pool through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the most major pathway for those abroad, you need your Educational Credential Assessment and language test results, which can each take several months to complete.
If you get an ITA, you will have ninety (90) days to apply for Canadian permanent residence. After you lodge your application, IRCC’s processing standard is six months.
If your application is approved, you obtain your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR), which is valid until your passport expires.
This is the stage of the process that is presently hindered by travel restrictions. Confirmation of Permanent Residence holders who were approved after March 18, 2020, are normally not allowed to come to Canada.
In order to cross the border and complete their landing, they must be exempted from travel restrictions for some other reason, like coming to reunite with family or coming for essential work. They may also be allowed in if they are coming to Canada from their home in the United States. However, they cannot transit through the United States from another country.
These are the things to consider when deciding if you want to start the Express Entry process from overseas. Canada is committed to welcoming more permanent residents, so we can expect to see more large Express Entry draws that may even have lower CRS requirements— depending on how many candidates are in the Express Entry pool and how big the draws are.
When travel restrictions are lifted and border reopens, the FSWP will once agian play a key role in achieving Canada’s immigration targets, as it was the lead category of Express Entry immigrants before the pandemic, and has been the lead category of skilled workers to Canada since the FSWP was introduced in 1967.