Prepared by Veronica Laurent; Shreeya A Pal; Edited by Peter Seeder on December 6, 2021

According to the new statistics released by IRCC, the department is currently prioritizing Express Entry applicants. The statistics indicate the number of permanent residence applications that have been approved by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. There has been delay in Express Entry aligned applications processing, instigated by large volumes of Afghan refugee applications processing.

Express Entry is an electronic selection system used by the Federal as well as Provincial governments of Canada [to select], as well as designated Canadian employers [to nominate] candidates for Canadian permanent residence under three of its popular economic [skilled] immigration programs:

Candidates eligible for any of the above programs are given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score in the Express Entry Pool. It is based on their Core/Human capital factors such as age, work experience, education, and language ability in English and/or French, etc. And, based on scores, candidates are periodically invited (or nominated) for permanent residence. 

IRCC invites the highest-scoring individuals to apply for permanent residence every two weeks. Such individuals have 60 days’ time to submit their permanent residence application to IRCC. When IRCC  approves an application, the individual obtains a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR), which allows them to legally enter Canada as a permanent resident (an immigrant).

Amid the pandemic, IRCC has made substantial improvements to its Express Entry regulations. The department is actively engaged in its strategy to welcoming 401,000 new permanent residents before the year ends, since IRCC had made an official decision to focus on transitioning more temporary residents to permanent residents to give it a better shot at meeting provinces’ labour market needs. As a result, IRCC has only welcomed individuals under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) under Express Entry for the year 2021.

The IRCC implemented this interim policy change for two reasons:

  • Since 90% of CEC applicants are presently residing in Canada during the pandemic, they are less likely to suffer COVID-related obstacles that would prevent them from completing their permanent residence landings in 2021.
  • The IRCC continues to support PNP candidates to assist provinces around the country in meeting their labour market needs.

IRCC has not invited the top applicants from the entire Express Entry pool, as it did prior to the pandemic, but has instead invited the top CEC and PNP candidates. This has resulted in a decrease in total CRS cut-off scores as the department sought to invite as many CEC applicants as possible to support its immigration objective for this year.

The year’s most significant draw occurred on February 13, when IRCC invited 27,332 CEC applicants to apply for permanent residence, a feat accomplished by setting the CRS cut-off score at just 75. To put this in context, the draw was over six times larger than the previous record. IRCC issued 108,860 & 12,514 COPRs for CEC & PNP applicants between January and October. According to the statistics, IRCC has redirected its resources to process as many CEC applications as possible in order to meet its 401,000-immigration target for this year.

The following data represents total COPRs issued since the month of January for various different programs held by IRCC:

COPRs issued under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC):


COPRs issued under the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC):  


COPRs issued under the Provincial/Territorial Nominee Programs (collectively, PNPs):


COPRs issued under the Skilled Trades (FSTC):


Statistics of total COPRs issued since January this year [for all programs] is exhibited in the chart below:

According to IRCC, there is now a backlog of 1.8 million permanent and temporary resident applications. Since January, IRCC has held a total of 27 CEC draws. This year, IRCC is on track to meet its immigration target. IRCC has welcomed over 314,000 permanent residents (from January to October), and in subsequent months, has been admitting over 45,000 candidates per month.

In addition, on February 10, 2022, Fraser will present Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025. The mandate letter and new levels plan will provide stakeholders greater information about IRCC‘s policy goals in 2022 and beyond.

Check out Owlspriority Immigration’s Canada Settlement Resources to learn more about ways to find a new job in Canada, making your initial days in Canada stress-free and confident, etc.

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