This was a disappointing year for Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) applicants waiting to be selected from the Express Entry pool. With the last all-program draw targeting FSW candidates in December 2020, the subsequent year-long all-program draw hiatus caused frustration for many.
For most of 2021, Canada has been holding draws specific to candidates eligible under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Since September 2021, Canada began holding smaller PNP-only Express Entry draws. These smaller draws will allow IRCC to tackle the significant backlog leftover from COVID-19.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, a majority of IRCC staff were on leave. IRCC was also unable to finalize many permanent residence applications due to the travel restrictions in place. These effects of the pandemic resulted in a massive application backlog. As of October 2021, IRCC had a backlog of about 1.8 million applications.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, it also paved the way for a more efficient immigration system. In the last quarter, IRCC has admitted more newcomers per month than ever seen in Canadian history. As the backlog clears, we should expect to see an all-program draw in 2022.