Ever since WHO declared it as a pandemic in March 2020, COVID-19 has affected Individuals, Businesses, and Governments all around the world. Canada and Canadian Immigration was no exception. COVID-19 has had a major role to play in all decisions taken and announcements made by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) considering rapid transmission of the disease and the ensuing international travel restrictions. This lead to processing delays in cec. Today, when different countries, including Canada, are in different stages of Vaccine Rollouts we are beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel however the impact of various delays or shutdown of various immigration related functions has caused bottlenecks and backlogs of humungous proportions that are taking time to mitigate.
Owing to various travel restrictions that have been in place since last year, one of the adjustments that we have seen IRCC make is in The Express Entry draws. Ever since the Express Entry System was launched in January 2015, The draws (or Rounds of Invitation) that were primarily known to be “No Program Specific” have been largely replaced by program specific draws to prioritize in-Canada immigration applicants and subsequently 29 out of the 41 draws since 18th March, 2020 were either for Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or Canadian Experience Class (CEC) applicants. The surprisingly generous draw of 13th Feb, 2021 alone invited more than 27000 applicants under CEC followed by the CEC specific draw of 18th March, 2021 that invited 5000 applicants.
IRCC recently shared an update (On March 25, 2021) on their capacities to process The Canadian Experience Class Applications under The Economic Class. While the processing of such applications has not been completely halted, IRCC has recognized the fact that due to unavoidable delays caused by COVID-19 (probably coupled with the large number of applications that need to be processed), such applications will take longer to process. We were already aware about delays in processing times of different kinds of applications, but this is the first time that IRCC has officially announced delays in processing a certain class of applications under Express Entry.
As an applicant, we understand that the wait for a decision can be excruciating but given the circumstances it is unavoidable. In addition, there are a few important things that an applicant must ensure on his/her part to avoid a negative decision or any other kind of hardship in the immigration journey.
- Do inform IRCC of any changes in your situation, such as birth of a child, change in relationship with your spouse, change in employer/LMIA etc.
- Maintain status and don’t let your status expire because of negligence. Apply for extensions well in advance.
- Needless to mention, don’t indulge in any unlawful or criminal activities that might make you inadmissible in Canada, thereby jeopardizing your application and overall life in Canada.
How to check progress?
- An applicant might see The Progress Bar missing from the online account, but the most recent progress on one’s file can still be seen under “Details about application status” section of the online account.
- The IRCC website still states that The Average Processing time for such applications is around 6 months but this comes with a caveat that certain other Factors can affect the suggested average processing time.
For any further questions or clarity on this, please feel free to reach out to SAAB Immigration Services Inc. We are a Full-service Immigration firm run by Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants, with offices in Mississauga and Kitchener.