In May 2023, the IRCC announced a new category-based round of invitations for their popular Express Entry system. The category-based rounds will issue invitations to candidates in the IRCC’s Express Entry pool based on a chosen skill, training or language proficiency to be announced by the IRCC beforehand. This will add to the already existing General round of invitations and the Provincial rounds of the Express Entry system.
What is Express Entry?
Express Entry is an online application system introduced in 2015 that processes the permanent residency applications of skilled immigrants.
Express Entry allows skilled immigrants to apply for permanent residency in Canada through three programs, namely:
The program uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to score and select candidates for immigration. The CRS score factors in a candidate’s age, education, language proficiency, work experience and other details to measure their desirability for immigration.
Candidates are selected through All-program draws or category-based draws where only candidates from a specified category are eligible for selection.
What are the Categories for 2023?
The IRCC has chosen the following categories for the year 2023:
- French-language proficiency
- Healthcare occupations
- Science, Technology, Engineering and Math occupations (STEM)
- Trade occupations
- Transport occupations
- Agriculture and agri-food occupations
What is the basis on which these categories are chosen?
The categories are chosen based on Labour market information and input from provinces, territories and stakeholders across the country.
The need for a Category-based selection
The category-based selection makes the Express Entry system more responsive to the needs of the Labour market and the requirements of Canada’s provinces.
The categories highlighted for the year were selected after feedback from stakeholders and the public and face either labour shortages or figure into the government’s plans, requiring the targeted selection of immigration candidates. We can address some categories and why they need the additional boost from category-based invitations here:
Healthcare– Canada had over 92,180 vacancies in health occupations during the first quarter of 2023. Shortages in this critical sector are especially evident in many parts of rural Canada, and a Healthcare-based invitation round can help address Canada’s existing labour shortage in this vital sector. The government has also introduced efforts like the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program to support these sectors.
STEM– Professionals in STEM fields are required for Canada’s continued economic growth and technological advancement. The STEM category-based invitation rounds will help the country solidify its position in research, development and innovation.
Trade occupations include carpentry, plumbing, welding, contractor work, etc., which constitute the construction sector. The category has received renewed attention as Canada attempts to ramp up the construction of housing units to tackle its current housing crisis.
Transport occupations include truck drivers, aircraft assemblers, railway traffic controllers, engineer officers, air traffic controllers, pilots, flight engineers, mechanics, etc. In the first quarter of 2023, Canada witnessed 140,625 vacancies in trade, transport and related occupations.
How many Category-based rounds of invitation has Canada had in 2023?
Since its introduction in May, the IRCC has held seven rounds of Category-based Invitations.
Performance of Category-based selection draws so far
The number of invitations issued for each draw and the selection criteria were as follows:
- June: The first category-based selection draw catered to Healthcare occupations, with over 500 invitations issued to candidates with a minimum CRS score of 476.
- July 5: The second category-based selection was for STEM occupations, with 500 invitations issued for candidates with a minimum CRS score of 486.
- July 6: The second category-based selection for the Healthcare category had 1,500 invitations issued to candidates with a minimum CRS score of 463.
- July 7: The invitations in this draw were issued to candidates with strong French language abilities. 2,300 invitations were issued with a minimum CRS of 439.
- July 11: The draw invited 3,800 candidates with strong French-speaking abilities. The minimum CRS score for this draw was 375.
- August 2: This was the third draw for candidates with strong French-speaking skills. 800 invitations were issued in this draw with a minimum prescribed CRS score of 435.
- August 3: This was the first category-based selection draw for Trade professions. The draw had 1,500 invitations issued with a minimum CRS score of 388.