Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada handles Express Entry for immigrant applications and Permanent Residence in Canada. Some of the programs include the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program.
Prior to the pandemic, IRCC held draws from the Express Entry candidates about every two weeks. Applications for permanent residence in Canada were generally processed within 6 months or less.
The pandemic, however, has changed how immigration works, at least in 2021. IRCC has invited only CEC and PNP immigration candidates to apply for permanent residence in Canada during this year. This is regardless of their immigration scores. Also, IRCC is not able to commit to processing applications within 6 months.
The reason that IRCC is only drawing from CEC and PNP applicants is to help achieve its plan of 401,000 permanent residents for 2021. CEC applicants are mostly in Canada already so this helps achieve the goal and avoid pandemic disruptions. IRCC also recognizes the need to support provinces and their labour market needs, so the PNP is also important in this plan.
Applicants were also invited this year to apply under the Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident pathway.
A large number of FSWP applicants are in Express Entry and waiting to be processed. There is a pause in CEC draws to allow IRCC to handle the current backlog of Express Entry applicants.
IRCC has also had to adjust to meet the Afghanistan resettlement goals, and so there were less immigrants selected from other programs.
IRCC needs to process the backlog of applications for Permanent Residence in Canada.