Canada invited 1,082 Express Entry candidates to apply for Canadian immigration on February 16. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) only invited Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates in the new invitation round. The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) cut off was 710.
This is the third time in a row that a PNP draw has broken a record for most invitations. The draw two weeks ago held the previous record with a total of 1,070 PNP candidates invited to apply. Invited candidates now have 60 days to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
Canada is aiming to admit 55,900 immigrants through Express Entry-managed programs this year, according to Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024 released on February 14. That figure does not include the 83,500 PNP immigrants Canada expects to welcome this year, although not all of these will come through Express Entry.
The new Express Entry targets are nearly half of what the previous multi-year levels plan called for. In the 2021-2023 levels plan, Canada anticipated the number of Express Entry immigrants would be 108,500 in 2021.
The Express Entry targets for next year are also reduced compared to previous targets to 75,750. Targets appear to return to more normal levels in 2024, when Canada projects to welcome 111,500 through Express Entry. The immigration targets for 2023 onward could change in the fall, as the immigration minister will have to table the next multi-year immigration levels plan by November 1. The reason the 2022-2024 targets were delayed was because of the federal election in September.
Part of the reason Canada reduced targets is so that IRCC can process its backlog of immigration applications. As of February 1, there are more Express Entry applications in the queue than Canada needs to meet its targets for the year. The reduction also appears to be part of an IRCC effort to process applications for the Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence (TR2PR) program, and accommodate the goal of resettling 40,000 Afghan refugees.