Toronto: The Canadian government is proposing modifications to the Express Entry system that would permit the immigration minister to invite candidates on the basis of an economic objective.
Aiden Strickland, a spokesperson for the immigration minister, told to a leading immigration news website in an email that the proposed changes will enhance Canada’s capacity to choose applicants who meet its economic requirements.
Strickland wrote: “Through our growing pool of candidates seeking permanent residency, IRCC will be able to conduct targeted draws to pick people in the queue who have specific language skills or health care qualifications, for example.” This is crucial for tackling Canada’s labour shortages.
The Canadian parliament is now discussing the alterations. On May 19, Philip Somogyvari from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) submitted the proposed modifications before the Standing Committee on Immigration and Citizenship, an elected official committee that investigates Canadian immigration.
Director General of the IRCC Somogyvari indicated that the modifications would permit the immigration minister to invite Express Entry candidates on a new basis, one that would assist a minister-identified economic objective.
“The minister would determine the eligibility standards for membership in a category, which may include employment experience, educational background, or language skills,” Somogyvari said.
“For example, if it were desired to use immigration to support the growth of Canada’s tech sector, a category of Express Entry candidates would be created based on criteria such as work experience in their sector occupation and/or the possession of a related educational credential. Invitations could then be extended to the candidates with the highest rankings in that category.”
Details on the draw, including qualifying requirements, will continue to be published on the IRCC website. The minister would also be required to describe the economic objective they are attempting to achieve and to provide an annual report to the legislature on the use of these draws. Jenny Kwan, the immigration critic for the New Democratic Party, asked Somogyvari whether occupations would be indicated in these draws. Somogyvari responded that the government presently has no occupations listed.
Currently, the immigration minister does not have the ability to invite individuals from the Express Entry pool who have certain work experience, educational credentials, or who are French speakers intended for a community with an official language minority. This could change if the proposed revisions to section 23 of Bill C-19 are approved.
“The adjustments themselves would allow the minister, for instance, to focus on all French-speaking individuals in the Express Entry pool,” Somogyvari explained. “Although French-speaking applicants now receive additional points that raise their ranking score, it may not be possible to invite all French-speaking candidates in the pool. Theoretically, with the proposed authority, if the minister chose to do so, the department would be able to launch an invitation round that would invite practically all French-speaking individuals identified in the Express Entry pool.”
The method for identifying which groups will be chosen is still in the process of being created. Somogyvari stated that such decisions would likely be made after consultation with employer organisations, stakeholders, Immigration and Refugee Protection Act objectives, Employment and Social Development Canada, and provincial and territorial governments.
Concerning Express Entry in 2022
Express Entry is a system for managing applications for three immigration programmes: The Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).
To immigrate under one of these programmes, overseas workers must complete a profile in the Express Entry system to indicate their interest in Canadian immigration. Candidates who qualify for one of the three programmes receive a score based on their work experience, education, language skills, age, and other considerations. The highest-scoring individuals are invited by IRCC to apply for permanent residence.
Recent IRCC invitation rounds have been limited to individuals who have been nominated through a provincial nominee programme (PNP). After Express Entry applications accumulated a backlog during the pandemic, IRCC suspended invitation rounds for the FSWP in December 2020 and CEC drawings in September 2021. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser recently indicated that draws for these candidates would restart in July and that new applicant processing times would return to six months.
Somogyvari certified that the modifications have no effect on current or future processing delays.
Kwan demanded that the government identify the groups affected by the proposed act.
Kwan told the committee, “I am disturbed that there would be no parliamentary monitoring of these panels’ composition.” “There is no way to determine whether these groups will be fair or how effective [the government] will be in picking individuals who will contribute economically to Canada.”
Kwan stated, “Without a clear selection process where industries can give official comments on which occupations are needed and an objective committee to judge the needs of these occupations, the process could become a tool for lobbying industries.” “This is not what we desire. I believe we need set criteria and an open procedure.”
Salma Zahid, chairwoman of the standing committee and member of the Liberal Party, agreed to request revisions to the proposed alterations by May 27. The request will be sent to the ministry of finance, as it was this department that requested the immigration committee to perform the study on the proposed changes to Express Entry.
The letter will be received by the Standing Committee on Finance, which will determine if the idea should be transformed into changes to be offered during its clause-by-clause discussion of the bill, which is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 30 at 11 a.m.