A Canadian Federal Express Entry (EE) Draw was conducted on April 15, 2020, where 118 Invitations to Apply (ITA) were issued to candidates holding Provincial Nominations (PNP).

This was a targeted draw, which appears to be the current norm of IRCC. In fact, there has not been an all program draw since March 18, 2020. The minimum Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) score for this draw was 808. The last PNP EE draw on March 18th and April 9th had a minimum CRS score ranging from 698-720, making this the highest CRS score for PNP EE draws in 2020. This may account for the low number of ITA’s (118), compared to over 600 for the last two draws.

As IRCC is moving away from all program draws towards targeted draws, we face the “new normal” of the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian Immigration. Most candidates with PNP approvals are those with a job offer in the Province in an occupation with a labour market shortage. In fact, there are a limited number of Province’s which do not require a job offer to receive a PNP nomination.

The IRCC’s decision to conduct targeted draws works alongside the restrictions imposed by the Government in response to COVID-19 and the exemptions for Temporary Foreign Workers (TPW). Since the Provinces have a demand for these occupations, it would be counter-productive to provide ITA’s to candidate’s subject to a travel ban. For those without job offers and unable to obtain a TFW permit, they must delay their entry into Canada in order to comply with current travel restrictions and wait for them to be lifted. In the meantime, IRCC is not denying any permanent residency applications; they are extending the time period to submit documents and biometrics to 90 days.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Canada has implemented air, land and sea travel restrictions to Foreign Nationals seeking to enter Canada. The only exemptions are for those with Study Permits approved prior to March 18, 2020, Applicants for Permanent Residents with approvals prior to March 18, 2020 and Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW). TFW are afforded more latitude for travel as they provide essential services and necessary for growth in the Canadian economy.