Canada’s Express Entry system continues to overshadow a growing backlog of immigration applicants under the Canada Experience Class. The wait time now exceeding 14 months is an unintended consequence of the new system.
The Express Entry system which the Conservative government launched in January 2015 to create a pool of pre-screened immigration candidates for employers to select, promises a processing time of less than six months. Faster processing under Express Entry allows the immigration system to better meet labour market needs across the country.
However many applicants applying under the Canada Experience Class, one component of Express Entry, continue to endure processing delays of four-months to obtain bridging visas. These visas are designed to extend their stay and allow immigrants the legal right to continue working in Canada, while their applications under the CEC class continue forward.
Immigration officials confirm there are about 6,000 CEC applications in the backlog, but their goal is to process them all within six months. This is not materializing, and many workers under this category are being forced to leave Canada and return home.
Although many CEC applicants could have withdrawn and re-applied under the new Express Entry, they risk losing their $550 application fees, and must retake the English test and get a Labour Market Impact Assessment, which proves their skills are in demand in Canada. Many applicants with pending applications under the CEC Class find it unfair to reapply and qualify under the Express Entry system while incurring additional costs. This is an unintended consequence of the new rules which needs addressing.
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