Age Plays A Massive Role In Immigrating To Canada 

Targeted Express Entry Draws Might Work In Favour Of Those Over 40

Other than being one of the world's most popular go-to immigration destinations, Canada is also known for its immigrant-friendly policies, ranking fourth on the Migrant Integration Policy Index, CTV News reports.

However, not everyone would agree.

Many of Canada's immigration programs consider age as one of the most important factors, and with the backlog in application processing many applicants have lost their eligibility for a PR card due to aging.

Therefore, even though these applicants might have the qualifications Canada is looking for, their chances of obtaining permanent residency get dramatically lower, as soon as they turn 40, or even thirty.

Rick Lamanna, a director in an immigration services provider company, told how frustrating everything is for certain applicants waiting in the pool.

“They see themselves losing points every year because of these delays. They may have fewer points than they did a couple of years ago or even a year ago,” he said.

How Does The Point-Based System Work?

Programs like the Federal Skilled Worker Program or Canadian Experience Class, both of which are Express Entry streams employers heavily rely on, consider age as a major criterion. Turning 40 means losing more than half of the age-based points compared to a 30-year-old applicant.

For example - a single 30-year-old applicant will get 105 points for their age. A person who just turned 40 will get 50 points. To make the matter even worse - with each year passing waiting for the application to be processed, the 40-year-old applicant loses ten or more points. In your 30s, you lose around 5 points per year, while in your 20s you don't lose points at all. Applicants with a common-law partner or a spouse, lose even more points. For those over the age of 44, the score dramatically drops since Canada's comprehensive ranking system gives no points to those over 45.

However, even though age can lower a candidate's Canada Express Class (CEC) or Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) scores, other factors can help raise it. The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) has a maximum score of 1200 based on several factors, such as education, English/French skills, and work experience. The candidate must score higher than the CRS cut-off score to receive an Invitation To Apply (ITA). If they fail to meet the CRS score in a specific draw, they must upload their profile again.

Given the fact that the majority of Canada's workforce is nearing retirement and with women choosing to have children later in life or at all, the country's labour market will end up with an older workforce and a lack of skilled workers. More importantly, young skilled workers.

This leads us to our next point - targeted express entry draws.

Targeted Express Entry Draws To Change The System?

As 2023 approaches, so are the targeted express entry draws, which were announced by Immigration Minister Fraser earlier this year.

Thanks to the recently passed Bill C-19, the new method of choosing immigrants should address the labour market in Canada and accept applicants that will help improve labour market needs. Since provinces do have a big say in this area, they are working on improving their system for accepting internationally-educated foreign workers, such as healthcare workers. This would ensure that the process bring over healthcare workers to Canada will improve, for example, a targeted express entry draw could be a game changer.

However, applicants with a higher CRS score who don't fit in the specific occupation pool might not get a chance to get an ITA and could be left hanging.

In conclusion, while targeted draws might help address labour market shortages in specific industries such as construction, it might also leave out top-skilled, young, bilingual workers in other industries. They might not feel as encouraged to enter the Express Entry pool knowing that their field might not be needed in Canada's labour market.

Canada To Remove All Travel Restrictions On October 1

ArriveCAN To Become Optional

Travellers will no longer need to show proof of vaccination when entering Canada, CBC reports. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) announced the removal of all vaccine requirements and the ArriveCAN app, which will become optional starting as early as October 1.

Additionally, face masks on domestic planes and trains as well as quarantining won't be mandatory anymore. People will also be exempt from pre- or on-arrival testing and monitoring their symptoms upon arrival in Canada. However, according to the announcement, if a person gets sick while travelling they

"...should inform a flight attendant, cruise staff, or a border services officer upon arrival. They may then be referred to a quarantine officer who will decide whether the traveller needs further medical assessment as COVID-19 remains one of many communicable diseases listed in the Quarantine Act, " .

The PHAC says the removal of travel restrictions is decided based on Canada's high vaccination rates, lower hospitalization numbers and the use of booster shots.

Read More: IRCC To Exempt Some Individuals From Immigration Medical Examination

The Easing Of Measures Was Planned In The Spring

The government was already considering easing travel restrictions back in the spring. Mid-March, Canada's Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said that Canada's travel restrictions could potentially be relaxed or toughened, depending on circumstances and the numbers of cases, hospitalizations, etc.

As of April 1, travellers entering Canada by air became exempt from testing for COVID before boarding.

How Could This Affect Immigration Backlog?

On the day the PHAC announced this, the IRCC had a backlog of an estimated 2.4 million applications, 639 500 of which were for permanent residence.

As a reminder, during COVID, the IRCC only processed applications of people within the country and granted them their PR cards. This was a tactic to address at least some of the submitted applications. However, most applicants were outside of the country, and since they couldn't travel to Canada due to travel restrictions, their application process took longer than usual.

Before the pandemic, the IRCC would usually consider all candidates during its biweekly Express Entry draws. They would send invites to the candidates who scored the highest on the CRS, regardless of their program of eligibility. This approach was changed during the pandemic, leading to a total pause for the Federal Skilled Worker Program and Federal Skilled Trades Program draws. The immigration office prioritized economic immigrants in Canada while the country was under international travel restrictions. For most of last year, IRCC prioritized CEC candidates and achieved its goal of landing 401,000 new permanent residents.

However, IRCC resumed sending invitations to apply to all Express Entry programs back in July and the end of restrictions could be a double-edged sword.

On one hand, it could finally speed things up given that the applicants are free to move around and compile all the necessary documentation. On the other hand, some potential candidates might have wanted to apply before but didn't because of the backlog. The news about travel restrictions finally being lifted might encourage a large number of people to start their application process, which might further increase the backlog.

Either way, IRCC's goal is to accept more than 430 000 immigrants by the end of the year and with this pace, they might just achieve it. Read more about IRCC's plans for dealing with the immigration backlog.

Canada's Plan for Temporary Residents to Become Permanent Residents 

IRCC's plans to implement the framework in the coming years

This past week, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced Canada's plans to expand and escalate the process for temporary residents to become permanent residents.

Minister Fraser presented IRCC's five-pillar approach expected to benefit foreign workers and international students in Canada as temporary residents. The goal is to expand avenues for temporary residents to attain their permanent residency.

The permanent residency expansion strategy comes as a response to a motion actioned in May 2022. At that time, discussion and demands were peaking for a public framework explaining strategies to expand avenues for economic immigration.

It is expected that this five-pillar program will aid both temporary foreign workers and international students, as well as offer relief to sectors in need of labour.

Read More: Immigration Minister discusses policy considerations for new PR pathway

IRCC's Five Pillar Pathway for TR to become PR

Colin Singer from Canada Immigration News reports that this strategy will offer support to Canada's "...shrinking labour market, caused chiefly by low birth rates and a growing number of retirements among the baby boomer generation."

Outlined below, the Strategy to Expand Transitions to Permanent Residency utilizes a five-step approach providing alternate avenues for foreign workers and students to become permanent residents.

Pillar 1: Elevated rates of Immigration

Minister Fraser reiterated the current plan to elevate Canada's immigration rates that are outlined in the 2022-2024 Immigration Levels Plan. Increasing the immigration targets to align wit labour supply needs is the primary goal of this pillar. Most notably, the plan suggests adding over 400,000 new permanent residents before 2023.

While this plan is current, Minister Fraser is likely to present a revised Immigration Levels Plan to include 2025 before the end of the month.

Pillar 2: Increasing flexibility of Express Entry

The premise of this second pillar is to expand the parameters of the Express Entry Program to allow IRCC to select applicants in accordance with the demands of the labour market. By 2023, the Express Entry program will be able to operate by extending occupation-centred invites.

Another aspect covered in this pillar is the revision of the Express Entry Program's Comprehensive Ranking System. This revision is to ensure that appropriate points are allocated based on language levels, completed Canadian education, work experience in Canada, among other considerations.

Read More: Canada Planning Major Express Entry Changes

Pillar 3: Advancing Economic Immigration

Minister Fraser's presentation of pillar 3 looked at the proposed steps to aid temporary essential workers in becoming permanent residents. Among the propositions is IRCC's adoption of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system.

Additionally, among other propositions, this pillar seeks to improve temporary residents’ access to information to guarantee that they are equipped with proper knowledge regarding certifications and requirements.

Read More: Canada's Immigration Backlog

Pillar 4: Providing Support for Communities & Francophone Immigration

This pillar mentions lending support to communities in attracting and retaining newcomers. This pillar puts a special emphasis on Francophone immigration and supporting minority Francophone communities outside of Quebec.

Moreover, IRCC's Municipal Nominee Program (MNP) is mentioned as a way to accomplish these initiatives and address Canadian labour needs.

Pillar Five: Increasing IRCC Support & Processing

Pillar five is about ensuring that the government is increasing processing capacity. To do so, there will b reworking of the immigration processing system with technological advancements to ensure that newcomers have a positive experience in the immigration process is of high importance.

The Five Pillars Put into Action

Over the coming months, Immigration minister Fraser is expected to make additional statements regarding the progress of the strategy. The next update can be expected as early as the beginning of November.

IRCC Addresses Backlog And Wait Times

IRCC to exempt some individuals from immigration medical examination

Currently, there are 2.4 million applications in all IRCC inventories. 1.1 million of these applications are being processed in accordance with service standards while 1.3 million applications are backlogged. Applications falling short of expectations include the Express Entry Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Skilled Trades Program, the citizenship grant, and the issuance of initial permanent resident cards.

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Hon. Sean Fraser, recently explained via a series of Tweets the steps the IRCC has taken – and is going to take – to address these backlogs and further reduce wait times. Much of the same information is included in a September 1st, 2022, IRCC news release, "A stronger immigration system that better serves newcomers."

The majority of these updates are related to the online application portal for many permanent residence programs. As promised in January of 2022, access to online applications and online tracking of such applications was made available to most permanent residence applicants. In February of 2022, a new application status tracker was launched allowing applicants, their sponsors, and their representatives to check the status of their applications online. By the spring of 2023, the IRCC aims to include seven more permanent and temporary residence programs in the tracker.

IRCC leadership seems optimistic that such automation will greatly decrease the backlogs and wait times for processing applications. On September 23rd of 2022, most permanent residence programs will only be available for application online, with accommodation available if needed. Every week until late October, more program applications will be added. Currently, both work and study permits are being processed and finalized at a faster rate than last year. If the IRCC is correct, this pace will increase with the new measures to be implemented.

Aside from increasing the availability of applications and updates online, the IRCC will exempt approximately 180,000 individuals from immigration medical examination requirements. Permanent and temporary residence applicants who are already in Canada and "meet certain requirements" will be able to avoid spending additional time and money. This should aid IRCC in reducing wait times. However, neither the IRCC news release nor the Minister’s Twitter thread specify what these "certain requirements" are, nor have they released any details as to if or when this information would be made public.

More generally, the IRCC has announced that it will be hiring more employees and will continue improving processes by eliminating steps and using technology where possible. This autumn, the public can expect published estimates for how long applications are taking to process with the intention of allowing applicants to plan for their future.


Canada Still Number One Relocation Destination

Study shows data displaying search results for destinations

Canada is one of the world's top destinations, particularly for immigrants looking to relocate. This was revealed by a study from Compare The Market (CTM) looking at which countries appeal most to people looking to immigrate. The runners-up were, Japan, Spain, China, and France. However, the numbers reveal that the runner-up countries were no match for Canada. Interestingly, the United States did not make the top five.

The study noted that "Canada is a very welcoming country for expats, which has led to it becoming a very diverse and multicultural country." CTM analyzed the use of search terms such as "moving to" or "houses in" within different countries as data for analysis. The study wasn't the only ranking Canada scored among the top, in fact, Canada is frequently listed as one of the world's top destinations.

Read More: New Canadian Immigration Program in the Making

Each country's population’s overall search volume determined its score, allowing the comprehensive study to rank the nations according to their appeal as relocation destinations. In a report from Travel Industry Today, the significance of Canada's ranking was noted as outlined:

"Featuring prominently in the Global Peace Index as one of the safest places to live, and boasting low unemployment rates alongside a high amount of immigration options, it’s arguably no surprise that Canada is head and shoulders above the rest of the world."

Top Location for International Students to Study

One factor that weighs in on making Canada a top location for immigrants is the educational opportunities for international students. In 2021, the figures for international student study permit experience an additional 450,000, surpassing goals set in prior years.

Moreover, before the pandemic, the Government of Canada had actioned a strategy known as Building on Success: International Education Strategy (2019-2024). This IES prioritizes the success of international students coming to study in Canada, including a comprehensive budget of approximately 147.9 million dollars spanning until 2024.

The status of Canadian universities also makes the educational system enticing with about 10 Canadian universities ranking among the world's top universities.

Read More: How To Get a Canadian Study Permit?

Job Opportunities for Immigrants looking to Relocate

Canada's low unemployment rates are also attractive to newcomers. For international students, this is also an incentive since completing a Canadian post-secondary education may qualify them for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). To be eligible for the PGWP in a designated learning institution, you must complete a full-time course of study lasting at least eight months.

The possibility of attaining a PGWP is quite incentivizing especially considering the endless job opportunities within the Canadian economy. As outlined on Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada's (IRCC) website, people looking to relocate to Canada will have many job opportunities and will help to fill the gaps in the Canadian labour force. Newcomers to Canada also find the Express Entry Program to be useful in streamlining the process. This program allows invitations to be extended to specific people based on their occupations.

Express Entry seeks out people looking to immigrate who work as software engineers, public relations and marketing officers, computer programmers, information systems analysts, and financial auditors and accountants. In essence, many job opportunities in Canada attract newcomers, ensuring that Canada is one of the top-ranking countries in the world for relocation.

Read More: Canada to Offer Open Work Permits to PGWP Holders