Skilled immigrants: Canada is making progress toward gender equality

Alexandra Miekus
Published: August 16, 2019

More and more women are finding themselves as the principal applicants in Canada's Express Entry immigration process.

Prospective immigrants to Canada are assigned a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score to help the federal government assess and rank candidate profiles in the Express Entry pool.

Figures provided in the 2018 Express Entry year-end report reveal that the CRS scores of women are on par or even surpassing those of men.

Though there are still more male candidate profiles in the Express Entry pool, a growing percentage of women are getting scores above 350 and the number of women with CRS scores above 400 has increased 56 per cent since 2017.

Since January 3, 2019, 75 per cent of the 39,273 female applicants fell in the CRS range between 350 and 449, compared to 71 per cent of the 55,690 male applicants. There were more individual male applicants in the 350-449 range, but four per cent more of women who did apply achieved this score.

Last year, in 2018, 70 per cent of women in the Express Entry pool got over 400 CRS points, compared to 67 per cent of male applicants. In the previous year, 2017, 62 per cent of women in the Express Entry pool reached scores over 400.

Similarly, more women than men had CRS scores of 950 and above, a total of 65 women to 55 men.

This was an improvement over the composition of the pool at the start of 2018, which had 70 men with scores of 950 or above compared to 42 women.

Women who submitted profiles to the Express Entry pool in 2018 also claimed more additional points in the French-language proficiency category than men.

Find out if you are eligible for Express Entry

Percentage increase in ITA’s issued to women in economic immigration programs

Another key indicator of the increase in female representation is the growing number of Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residence that are being issued to women.

Women received 37,322 invitations, or roughly 42 per cent of the 89,800 ITAs, that were issued in 2018.

While low, it was essentially proportional to the fact women accounted for 41 per cent of all eligible profiles submitted in 2018.

In terms of admissions of Express Entry candidates as new Canadian permanent resident, the report showed an increasing number of women being admitted to Canada as principal applicants through the Express Entry system.

Similarly notable is the fact that women from at least five of the listed countries of citizenship represented a greater proportion of principal applicant admissions than men.

It also appears that women from certain countries represent a greater proportion of principal applicant admissions than men. 

The gender difference was most significant in applications from Jamaica where 67 per cent of the principal applicants were women.  The Philippines followed with 61 per cent.

Women from China (55 per cent), Russia (53 per cent) and Korea (51 per cent) also represented a greater proportion of Express Entry principal applicant admissions than men.

The eligibility rate of skilled immigrant women on the rise

In order to be considered for Canadian immigration through the Express Entry system, candidates must meet the eligibility criteria of one of the following economic immigration categories:

Eligible candidates are assigned a CRS score based on factors such as age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French, among others.

A set number of candidates with the highest scores receive an ITA through regular draws from the pool.

On the whole, men continue to outnumber women in the Express Entry pool. Nearly 280,000 Express Entry profiles were submitted in 2018, of which just over 109,000 were submitted by women. 

However, more women candidates created a profile in the Express Entry pool in 2018 than the year before and 74 per cent were found to be eligible for at least one of the three Federal High Skilled immigration programs managed by the Express Entry system — up from 70 per cent in 2017.

The eligibility rate for women in 2018 was six per cent greater than the eligibility rate for men, of whom 68 per cent were found to be eligible.

Overall, women accounted for 41 per cent of the 195,636 eligible profiles entered into the Express Entry pool in 2018. The number of eligible candidates in the pool has been rising by about 1 per cent annually, since 2016. 

These various advancements by women in the Express Entry pool reflect recent data provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that show the percentage of women admitted to Canada has been rising by one per cent every year, since 2015, and now stands at 47 per cent.

Find out if you are eligible for Express Entry

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