IRCC announces new selection categories for Express Entry candidates

Edana Robitaille
Published: May 31, 2023

Canada’s Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, has announced the launch of category-based selection draws for Express Entry candidates.

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be focusing on Express Entry candidates who have a strong French language proficiency or work experience in the following fields:

  • healthcare
  • science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions
  • trades, such as carpenters, plumbers and contractors
  • transport
  • agriculture and agri-food

Find out if you're eligible for category-based draws

The minister says that allowing IRCC to invite more skilled workers in these targeted professions will support Canada’s commitment to welcoming in-demand professionals into communities across the country.

A full list of eligible occupations under the new categories is available here.

Draws under the new categories are expected to start later this summer.

Why are there new Express Entry categories?

The new categories are aimed to fill vacant positions throughout Canada. Immigration is seen as a vital component for reducing the labour shortage as well as growing the prominence of the French language in French minority communities outside of Quebec.

“Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labour shortages” says Fraser. “These changes to the Express Entry system will ensure that they have the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed. We can also grow our economy and help businesses with labour shortages while also increasing the number of French-proficient candidates to help ensure the vitality of French-speaking communities. Put simply, Canada’s immigration system has never been more responsive to the country’s social or economic needs.”

Category-based draws were expected to begin this year following changes made in June 2022 to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The changes give the minister the authority to select immigrants based on key attributes that support Canada’s economic priorities.

How were the categories chosen?

The categories were chosen following legislative requirements that the Minister participate in public consultation with provinces and territories, members of industry, unions, employers, workers, worker advocacy groups, settlement provider organizations, and immigration researchers and practitioners.

Each year, IRCC will report to Parliament on

  • the categories chosen the previous year
  • why and how they were chosen
  • the instructions to establish a category
  • the number of invitations issued for each category

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry was established in 2015 to respond to Canada’s changing economic and labour market needs. It is an application management system that oversees three economic immigration programs, the Federal Skilled Workers Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class.

These programs use the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to assign a score to candidates based on human capital factors such as work experience, language ability, occupation, education and more. The candidates with the highest overall CRS score were the most likely to receive an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence.

Find out if you're eligible for category-based draws

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