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OTTAWA’S NEW EXPRESS ENTRY IMMIGRATION SYSTEM SLOW OFF THE MARK

April 6, 2015

By Joe Friesen, Globe and Mail |

Less than half of immigrants to Canada this year will be selected through the much-vaunted new Express Entry system introduced by the Conservative government, which promised to match skilled, economic migrants with employers’ needs.

So far, slightly more than 6,850 prospective immigrants have been invited to apply for permanent residency under Express Entry. It will not be until 2017, two years after its launch, that a majority of immigrants are processed through the new system, Citizenship and Immigration Canada said. The shift to the new economic immigration system was announced in 2012 and has been in place since Jan. 1.

In its 2015 immigration levels plan, the Citizenship and Immigration ministry pledged to accept 260,000 to 285,000 new permanent residents, about two-thirds of them economic migrants. To meet that target, the government needs to admit about 22,500 immigrants a month, about 10 times the number that are admitted through Express Entry at present. Most new immigrants this year will have to be selected through the old system, which was criticized because it was slow and operated on first-come, first-served basis.

“CIC is in a period of transition with recent implementation of Express Entry that will span approximately two years,” said Johanne Nadeau, a Citizenship and Immigration Canada spokeswoman.

A majority of economic immigrants arriving in 2015 will be drawn from the pool of people who applied to enter Canada in the years before Express Entry was introduced, Ms. Nadeau said. It is not clear exactly how large a portion of overall immigration will come from Express Entry candidates, or whether the pace at which invitations are issued will increase.

CIC would not say whether it has annual targets or expectations for Express Entry admissions at this point. The number of new permanent residents coming through the program is expected to grow in 2016 to about half of all admissions. By 2017, most, if not all economic admissions should be through Express Entry, Ms. Nadeau said.

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