One year since FSWP candidates were invited

December 23, 2021

The last time Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) candidates were drawn from the Express Entry pool was on December 23, 2020.

Little did most of us know at the time it would mark the beginning of a temporary pause in Express Entry invitations to FSWP candidates.

The FSWP has been Canada’s leading pathway for economic class immigrants since it was launched in 1967. In 2008, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) complemented the FSWP by launching the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). The purpose of the CEC is to provide a dedicated immigration pathway to those with Canadian work experience (namely international students and temporary foreign workers). In 2013, IRCC introduced the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) to provide an immigration pathway for skilled trades workers.

In 2015, IRCC launched Express Entry to manage these three programs. Anyone that met the criteria of an Express Entry-managed program could create a profile and would receive a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on human capital criteria such as their age, education, English and/or French language skills, work experience, Canadian experience, among other factors. Approximately every two weeks, IRCC would invite the highest scoring candidates to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

The rationale for Express Entry was it would allow IRCC to process applications more quickly (since they only needed to process those invited, rather than the previous model of reviewing every single application) and would give new immigrants a better shot to integrate into the Canadian economy (since IRCC was skimming the top to invite the highest scoring candidates).

Between 2015 and the start of the pandemic, FSWP candidates were the leading recipients of Express Entry invitations. In 2019, they received some 45 per cent of all invitations, followed by CEC candidates. This all came to a halt in 2021.

IRCC entered 2021 with a plan on how to achieve its Immigration Levels Plan target of landing 401,000 new permanent residents by the end of this year. The plan entailed transitioning a greater number of temporary residents living in Canada during the pandemic to permanent residence. The rationale for the plan was that amid COVID disruptions such as travel restrictions and other obstacles that may get in the way of overseas candidates completing the permanent residence process, focusing on transitioning those within Canada was the surest bet to achieving the 401,000 newcomer goal in 2021.


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