The IRCC (Immigration Refugees Citizenship Canada) recently put a pause on the bi-weekly Express Entry draws supposedly due to a Technical glitch after implementing the 2021 TEER(Training, Education, Experience, Responsibilities) system.
The IRCC conducts an express entry draw every two weeks, and scoops out a certain number of applicants with the highest CRS(Comprehensive Ranking System) scores.
Applicants submit their applications to participate in the Express Entry process, meant to be the fastest way for international workers to transition to permanent residency, they are added in a pool of candidates where they wait to be selected in one of the bi-weekly Express Entry draws, where the people with the highest CRS scores get an invitation to apply for permanent residency.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Federal Government put a pause on the Express Entry draws for 10 months, which resulted in a massive applicant build up in the Express Entry pool of candidates.
When the IRCC finally resumed the draws in July, 2022 where the last applicant invited to apply had the CRS score of 557, which is practically unachievable for a post graduate work permit holder, even with a master’s degree in Canada and advanced english language proficiency.
The last draw the IRCC conducted was on November 23, 2022, the IRCC has not conducted any Express Entry draws to this day.
While the Express Entry draws are being conducted, with CRS scores much higher than usual, CRS scores of the last applicant invited to apply was 491, in the draw that happened on November 23, 2022.
While the majority of PGWP holders with Canadian education and work experience range between scores of 420.-480, majority of the Canadian migrant work force have not been invited to apply for permanent residence in almost a year, resulting in their work permits expiring before getting a fair chance at applying for permanent residency.
Thousands of PGWP holders with permits expiring in 2023 were also excluded from the Public Policy allowing everyone with an expiring PGWP in 2022 to get an extension for up to 18 months, further allowing them to gain more valuable Canadian work experience and help businesses combat labour shortages.
Number of work permit holders with status’s expiring within first quarter of 2023 is in tens of thousands, as per the estimate. That is tens of thousands of highly skilled international workers currently employed all across Canada.
Jaicy Thomas told +1 News her story in an interview. Jaicy works at a reputed bank as a social media expert. Her CRS score of 483 would have been excellent at any usual time in Express Entry, but due to the unexpected freezes on the Express Entry system, the pool of candidates accumulated a record number of applicants in the history of Express Entry. Jaicy’s work permit expires in February 2023, which means she will have to stop working and return to her home country.
Tensions have been high and workers are calling on the IRCC to expand their work permits while IRCC works on solving the glitches in the Express Entry system. So far, no statements have been made from the IRCC’s end, leaving thousands of international workers in a limbo.
While these international workers were present in Canada during the Covid-19 pandemic, and represented a big portion of labour force in essential jobs such as personal support workers, food service workers, skilled technical jobs, IT professionals, nurses, the list goes on.
Businesses around Canada currently employing these international workers are also in a limbo while the IRCC maintains their silence on future plans and updates on their progress towards solving those technical glitches.