A report by the Canadian Department of Citizenship and Immigration reveals that almost half of the applicants who qualified for permanent residency within the first three weeks of the launch of the Express Entry system were already residing in Canada.
According to the report, which was obtained through the Access to Information Act, the first draw of the express-entry pool selected the top 775 candidates, of which 346 (45%) were living in Canada. Among applicants living abroad, 13% were from India, and 4.5% from the United Arab Emirates.
The report also showed that the first batch of skilled workers included “professionals in natural and applied sciences, and industrial, electrical and construction trades.” Under the Express Entry system, more points are awarded to skilled immigrants who have a permanent job offer along with a positive labour market impact assessment (LMIA).
Immigration experts believe that most of the resident applicants may be temporary foreign workers, as the Express Entry system rewards those who are already working in Canada.
“The first three draws for express entry were mostly temporary foreign workers with valid LMIAs,” says Sarah Anson-Cartwright, director of skills policy at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
The report also shows that the highest number of express entry applications came from citizens of India, Philippines, and Pakistan, whereas China (usually the top source of permanent residency applicants) ranked sixth after Ireland and Nigeria.
“If the trend holds, it looks like express entry is going to be a real game-changer for where Canada sources skilled workers,” said one immigration expert.
The Express Entry system was launched by Canada on January 1, 2015 in an attempt to attract foreign workers to apply for jobs for which there are no locally available workers. The second draw on February 7th resulted in the selection of 779 skilled workers, while the third draw on February 20th saw 849 workers being selected.
The Canadian government has so far offered permanent residency to 7,776 skilled immigrants under the express entry system, and says it is happy with the results so far. “The fact that everyone who was invited to apply for permanent residence in this round of invitations already has a valid job offer or provincial nomination shows that Express Entry is working to fill Canada’s existing labour market gaps,” says Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.
The Express Entry system is a point-based system where applicants are put in a pool and ranked based on points they earn in different categories. Skilled immigrants can earn up to 1,200 points under the system, with 600 points being allotted to those who have an existing job offer or a provincial nomination. Applicants can also earn up to 500 points under categories of education, age, language proficiency and Canadian work experience. Another 100 points can be earned for transferable skills like international work experience, education, and a certificate in the trades.
The top scoring candidates in the express entry pool are then selected through a draw, which is held by the government every two weeks. The selected candidates are sent “invitations to apply” for permanent residency in Canada.
Upon receipt of an “invitation to apply”, the candidates have 60 days to accept or decline the invitation. Those who have not received the invitation after 12 months of applying have to re-apply.
Top 10 countries from where express-entry candidates were selected in the first draw:
1. India: 228 candidates (29.4 per cent)
2. Philippines: 122 candidates (15.7 per cent)
3. Pakistan: 46 candidates (5.9 per cent)
4. Ireland: 34 candidates (4.3 per cent)
5. Nigeria: 29 candidates (3.7 per cent)
6. China: 29 candidates (3.7 per cent)
7. Iran: 21 candidates (2.7 per cent)
8. U.K.: 19 candidates (2.4 per cent)
9. Egypt: 18 candidates (2.3 per cent)
10.South Korea: 14 candidates (1.8 per cent)