2022 has been a busy year in Canadian immigration, with lots of changes. All-program Express Entry draws finally re-started, new immigration levels were announced, several types of modernization were implemented, and there was an update to the NOC classification system. We will address some of the major changes and what is expected in 2023.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has theoretically gone back to pre-pandemic processing timelines for most applications, yet backlogs continue to be an issue – especially for work permits being processed in Canada. The backlogs, combined with IRCC moving to an online system (complete with glitches), and ongoing communication issues have made it a challenging time.
2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan
Following the tabling of the 2022 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, Minister Fraser announced how the 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan will help address critical labour market shortages and grow the Canadian economy. About 60% of planned admissions will be via the Economic Class by 2025.
The Levels Plan aims for the following numbers:
- 465,000 permanent residents in 2023
- 485,000 permanent residents in 2024
- 500,000 permanent residents in 2025
As part of efforts to modernize Canada’s immigration system and improve client service, IRCC is transitioning to 100% online applications for most permanent immigration programs. IRCC also announced they will hire 1,250 new employees to increase processing capacity and tackle the backlogs.
Express Entry – all program draws finally re-started!
Express Entry rounds of invitations for the Federal Skilled Worker, Canadian Experience Class, and Federal Skilled Trades streams started again July 6, 2022, after a hiatus due to Covid. Prior to this, the last Federal Skilled Worker draw had been on December 23, 2020 and the last Canadian Experience Class had been September 14, 2021.Unbelievably there had not been a Federal Skilled Trades draw since August 6th 2020.
All of this resulted in an all-time CRS cut-off score high of 557 due to the huge numbers of applications in the pool. We have been seeing the score dropping slowly but steadily and the most recent CRS cut-off was 491.
Parents and Grandparents Program
On October 11th, it was announced that IRCC would accept up to 15,000 complete applications for sponsorship under the 2022 Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) this year. However, the PGP did not open to new applications – only those who applied in 2020 were among those invited to apply to the 2022 process.
New National Occupational Classification (NOC) system
Canada has transitioned to the new NOC 2021 version. One of the changes means that sixteen new jobs are now eligible under the Express Entry system.
The NOC Version 2021 includes new Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) categories, which replace the previous NOC “Skill level” structure of 0, A, B, C and D. Additionally, NOC codes now have a new five-digit codification system which replaces the previous four-digit system.
If you’d like to know more about the NOC 2021 changes, check out our blog post here.
All across Canada, there are still labour shortages, in almost every sector. Throughout the provinces, businesses are having trouble finding workers and are either having to close or operate at a loss. Quebec added many occupations to their list of occupations eligible under the Simplified Process, making it more efficient for employers to bring in foreign workers. If you are a truck driver, an automotive service technician or an autobody technician then please get in touch.
Statistics Canada shared that immigrants make up the largest share of the population in over 150 years and continue to shape who we are as Canadians. Per the 2021 census, more than 8.3 million people, or almost one-quarter (23.0%) of the population, were or have been a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada.
What do we have to look forward to in 2023?
We are hoping that backlogs will decrease in the new year! The constant backlogs and delays and the lack of communication from IRCC are serious issues and they need fixing. Applicants are often waiting six months for a work permit, and visitor visa applications in some countries are taking over a year! Backlogs remain across the board and are really causing issues. Let’s hope we see some serious improvements here.
Targeted Express Entry draws
Targeted / occupation specific draws are anticipated to start in the spring of 2023. IRCC have consulted a wide range of stakeholders with regards to these targeted draws in Express Entry, as required by the legislation, and are preparing for technical implementation in the first quarter of 2023. We are eagerly anticipating the details!
Family work permits
A big change is with regards to family members being eligible for open work permits when previously they weren’t – for example children of temporary workers, and spouses of low-skilled workers. Starting in January 2023, employers and temporary workers can benefit from family work permits to address labour shortages. This is a temporary 2-year policy. Let’s hope IRCC make it permanent. More here.
IEC pools to re-open
The 2023 International Experience Canada (IEC) Program will have a 20% increase in the number of applicants who can apply. The new round of pools will open on January 9, 2023.This is great way for those under the age of 35 to get to Canada and get Canadian work experience, which is often the determining factor in an applicant being eligible for permanent residency. Check the programs eligible for your country here.
Canadian Visa Specialists and the Immigration Industry Association will be hosting a webinar in January. Keep an eye out for webinar announcements on our social media! You can find all of our social media accounts here, and you can sign up for our newsletter here.
If Canada is in your future, then please get in touch with us and we can look at all of your options. We would love to welcome you here!
We wish you all a happy and peaceful holiday season!
Canadian Visa Specialists is a professional and ethical organisation that was established to provide prompt and professional assistance to people throughout the world who wish to migrate to Canada. We have been helping people come to Canada for twenty years, and we can help you with personal or corporate migration to Canada.