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Historic permanent residency draw ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity

Express Entry invitations pave pathway to residency for thousands of Canadians
N-Immigration Changes 28.08 FILE PHOTO
Canada has paved the way for thousands of prospective permanent residents with an historic round of invitations to more than 27,000 Express Entry applicants. Pictured is a 2017 citizenship ceremony on Whistler Mountain.

One of the perks of Brooke Finlay’s job as manager partner of Whistler Immigration comes when she gets to inform clients that they have been invited to apply for permanent residency (PR) after what is a long and complex process. After the federal government’s historic move to extend invitations to more than 27,000 PR applicants earlier this month, Finlay will have plenty of opportunities to spread some joy. 

“We have a lot of really happy clients,” she said. 

Ottawa made the historic decision to ramp up invitations after COVID-19 travel restrictions meant Canada fell well below its 2020 immigration target. Last year, Canada welcomed 184,370 new permanent residents, the lowest immigration level since 1998, and just more than half of its original target of 341,000. Finlay said there is typically between 3,000 and 5,000 invitations extended every two weeks, while Feb. 13’s round totalled 27,332 invitations, representing every single person already in the Express Entry pool. 

The feds also lowered the minimum point threshold of the Comprehensive Ranking System used to assess an applicant’s Express Entry profile, based on factors such as skills, education, language ability and work experience. Since the fall of 2019, Finlay said the minimum threshold hovered around 470 points, while the recent round of initiations saw the cut-off drop to 75. 

“Now that this has happened, basically anyone with a year of skilled work experience in Canada who meets the minimum English-language requirements would qualify, and not just qualify, but get an invitation to apply,” she explained. 

Whistler Immigration is now offering free online courses going over the PR application process step by step. Finlay said more than 50 people had signed up in a 36-hour period after the master classes were announced. 

“For a lot of people, this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the sense of, if they submit an application and anything’s wrong with it and it’s not successful, we don’t know if there’s ever going to be a draw that’s this low again,” she noted. 

The classes, which will take place Thursday, Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. and Wednesday, March 3 at 9 a.m., will go over how to fill out the application, and a walk-through of the necessary supporting documents, which, according to Finlay, is where mistakes most commonly happen. 

“That’s what we want people to avoid because we know the impact that would have on the community—just the emotional strain it would have,” she said. “Our goal with the master class is to really just bring that knowledge that we have to as many people as we can.” 

Finlay also urged PR candidates to get their applications in as soon as possible within the 90-day window, as they typically can take around six months to process, and with the volume of applicants this round, there are likely to be delays. 

Sign up for the PR master classes at whistlerimmigration.com/masterclass.