According to IRCC showing that the CEC is accounting for some 85 per cent of all finalized Express Entry applications this year. Between January and October, IRCC issued COPRs to 108,860 CEC applicants. The department has issued 12,514 COPRs to PNP candidates (about 10 per cent of all COPRs issued to Express Entry applicants this year).

The most adversely affected group is the FSWP program candidates. They were granted only 6,795 residence permits this year. This represents only 5% of all COPRs issued to Express Entry applicants this year and is about nine times less than before the pandemic.

The data suggests that the IRCC has diverted its resources to processing as many CEC applications as possible as it seeks to meet its goal of 401,000 new immigrants.

The IRCC currently has a backlog of 1.8 million permanent and temporary residence applications. This includes under 100,000 Express Entry applications as of Oct. 27. Assuming the IRCC maintains its current pace, it will have processed all of the remaining approximately 48,000 CEC applications by January 2022. The department has said it wants to reduce its Express Entry inventory by more than half before it considers resuming invitations to CEC and FSWP candidates. This suggests the IRCC will be in a better position to consider expanding its Express Entry invitations in early 2022, when the Express Entry backlog could be about half of what it was at the end of October.

The IRCC held 27 CEC draws this year but paused the draws as of Sept. 14. Meanwhile, no FSWP candidates have been drawn since Dec. 23, 2020. As of October 25, 2021, there are approximately 165,000 FSWP candidates in the Express Entry candidate pool, which means they represent approximately 85% of all Express Entry candidates currently available.

As of October, IRCC had gained nearly 314,000 permanent residents and has been gaining more than 45,000 per month in recent months. The department is currently determining Canada’s immigration level target for 2022 and what express entry strategy to adopt next year. In addition, IRCC will announce Canada’s 2022-2024 immigration level plan by February 10. The new levels plan will provide us with more guidance on the IRCC’s policy priorities for 2022 and beyond.