Express Entry in Canada reopens July 2022
The Express Entry system manages three immigration pathways for skilled workers. One of them is the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), which is the most common route taken for international student graduates to settle in the country long-term after completing their studies. Source: Lars Hagberg/AFP

It’s the news that prospective newcomers to the Great White North have eagerly awaited throughout the pandemic — Express Entry in Canada is back, and has officially started inviting skilled workers to become permanent residents. 

On July 6, 2022, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) invited a total of 1,500 candidates to apply for a PR. This included those under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), which were invited for the first time since December 2020.

Candidates under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) — the route commonly taken by international graduates with post-graduation work permit (PGWP) for a PR — were also featured in the current draw, which had not happened since September 2021. 

Speaking on the occasion, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said in a written statement to CIC News: “Today, I am pleased to announce that Express Entry draws have officially resumed and applications will be processed at our six month processing standard.” 

“I want to thank the candidates from around the world for their patience, as we worked to reduce the backlog before resuming Express Entry draws. I look forward to welcoming skilled workers who will be essential in addressing Canada’s labour shortages.” 

Express Entry in Canada

Canada’s immigration backlog of over two million applications has stalled the outcome of permanent residency applicants throughout the pandemic. Source: Nhac Nguyen/AFP

Express Entry in Canada: What international student graduates need to know 

The Express Entry pathway is not an immigration category on its own, but an online management system that oversees the PR applications of three skilled workers categories: the FSWP, CEC, and the FSTP (Federal Skilled Trades Programme). 

For international graduates with post-study work permits, the inclusion of the CEC category in this round’s invitation is particularly reassuring. As the primary pathway for international students to receive PR through Express Entry in Canada, the CEC was paused last year to mitigate IRCC’s massive immigration application backlogs in its system.

Prior to that, the CEC was Canada’s main focus for admitting new immigrants from January 2021. This was due to the fact that most CEC candidates at the time were already residing in the country, and weren’t subjected to pandemic-related travel restrictions compared to those who were overseas, according to CIC News.

Canada’s welcoming stance on immigration magnified its popularity as a study destination during the pandemic. Offering several pathways for migration, it emerged as the top preferred location for studying abroad among international students, edging out the US, the UK, and Australia. 

A study by the Canadian Bureau for International Education revealed that 60% of international students intend to apply for permanent residence after completing their studies in the country. It also found that 72.5% of them would like to apply for PGWPs to get work experience in Canada. 

Express Entry in Canada reopens July 2022

International graduates with post-graduation work permits can apply for a PR through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) pathway, which factors in education and work experience in Canada into its scoring system. Source: Oli Scarff/AFP

Express Entry in Canada: Which category is the right one for you?

If you didn’t graduate from a Canadian university and have been eyeing on settling in the Land of Maple Leaf, you might be unfamiliar with the immigration pathways available to you. Depending on your education and work history, it’s possible for you to be eligible for a PR under several different immigration classes.

In order to qualify for Express Entry in Canada, you need to meet several minimum requirements, such as skilled work experience and language proficiency. You can answer several questions on IRCC’s page to confirm your eligibility.

Express Entry in Canada 2022

Permanent residence applications made through Express Entry will take roughly six months to process. Source: Marvin Recinos/AFP

Here’s a quick breakdown of the three programmes managed under the Express Entry system:

  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC): For those with Canadian employment experience, gained three years before application. This is the route commonly taken by international students in Canada to settle there permanently after their studies.
  • Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP): For those with foreign working experience. Factors such as age, education, employment history are taken into account in the selection.
  • Federal Skilled Trades Programme (FSTP): For workers who are qualified in a skilled trade, such as technical jobs in fields like construction, agriculture, and manufacturing.

Once you’ve selected the immigration pathway that suits you best, you’re required to submit your profile in the Express Entry pool so the system can rank you using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

You need to meet the minimum score for your round of invitation to be invited for a PR application. The latest round’s cut-off score was 557 points, but the number changes in each invitation rounds, so you’ll have to keep yourself updated to ensure you have the best chances possible to call Canada your new home.