Written by Angrez Angurana, RCIC

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) has played a significant but unpredictable role in Canada’s Express Entry system since its inception. In this blog, we unravel the journey of CEC draws from 2015 to 2023, highlighting their irregular occurrence and the implications for candidates seeking permanent residency in Canada.

CEC’s Unsteady Beginnings: One Draw in 2015 and a Four-Year Hiatus

2015 marked the beginning of the CEC’s journey with a single draw, inviting 849 candidates. This initial move seemed to pave the way for a new immigration pathway within the Express Entry framework. However, from 2016 to 2019, the CEC entered a long pause period with no specific draws conducted. This interruption reflected Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) shift towards a broader focus on “All Program” Draws. The purpose of these all-program draws was to collectively invite candidates from various categories, including Federal Skilled Workers (FSW), Federal Skilled Trades (FST), Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), though PNP-specific draws were also conducted periodically.

COVID-19 Era: How the Pandemic Transformed CEC’s Role in Express Entry

The global pandemic in 2020 brought a significant shift. Amidst travel restrictions and processing challenges, IRCC strategically utilized the CEC to meet its immigration targets, issuing 34,215 invitations. 2021 escalated this approach to an unprecedented level with a record 99,653 CEC invitations, addressing the challenges of processing overseas applications and capitalizing on the pool of candidates already in Canada.

2022-2023: The Mysterious Absence of CEC Draws and Its Implications

In a surprising turn of events, 2022 and 2023 saw a halt in CEC-specific draws. This pause has left many candidates and industry experts pondering the future trajectory of the CEC in Express Entry, indicating a possible shift in IRCC’s immigration focus towards category-based (targeted occupations) draws, PNPs and all programs draws, but the fact was these were also not consistent as expected biweekly as usual.

The Inconsistency: CEC’s Irregular Presence in Express Entry

Despite 28 specific draws over the years, the CEC has not been a steady feature in Express Entry. The record-breaking draw in 2021, with 27,332 invitations, appears to be more of an anomaly than a consistent trend.

What This Means for CEC Candidates

The unconventional nature of CEC draws within the Express Entry system signifies an unpredictable path for candidates. This inconsistency highlights the need for adaptability and encourages exploring alternative pathways to permanent residency. Such alternatives include Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP), and various rural, regional, or pilot programs.

Looking Ahead: Adapting to the Changing Landscape of Canadian Immigration

As Canada’s immigration policies continue to evolve, staying informed and adaptable is crucial for potential CEC candidates. At Visaplus Immigration Canada Inc. we understand the complexities of the Express Entry system and are dedicated to guiding you through these changes. Contact us for expert advice and support in navigating your immigration journey to Canada.

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