Express Entry: What you need to know about healthcare occupations for category-based draws

Julia Hornstein
Published: June 24, 2023

On May 31st, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced the launch of category-based selection draws for Express Entry candidates.

Find out if you are eligible for category-based draws

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) intends to focus 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

These categories were chosen based on labour market information and projections, and input received from IRCC partners, provinces and territories and stakeholders across the country.

Category-based draws are expected to begin sometime this summer.

Why was healthcare chosen as a category?

Canada relies heavily on immigration to fill job vacancies in the healthcare system. In the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2022, there were 143,695 job vacancies in the Healthcare and Social Assistance category, making the job vacancy rate 6%. This is the sector with the highest number of job vacancies in Canada.

A quarter of all registered nurses and 36% of physicians in Canada were born outside of the country. In spite of this, foreign-trained medical professionals often find it difficult to get accreditation from Canadian authorities, making it difficult for healthcare professionals to find work in their field.

In response, IRCC is taking measures to make it easier for foreign trained healthcare workers to immigrate to Canada, such as removing some of the barriers for physicians who are already in Canada on a temporary resident visa.

Who is eligible for the healthcare occupations category?

To be eligible under the new category for healthcare professionals, you must:

What are the occupations?

There are 35 occupations in the healthcare occupations category. Some of these occupations include:

  • Dentists
  • General practitioners and family physicians
  • Massage therapists
  • Nurse aids, orderlies, and patient service associates
  • Optometrists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologies
  • Specialists in surgery
  • Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists
  • Veterinarians

What are Express Entry category-based rounds of invitations based on?

IRCC explains that for category-based rounds of invitations, they will invite candidates who are eligible for a specific category. IRCC will invite candidates to apply for permanent residence based on criteria such as:

Category based draws add to the general and program-specific draws by inviting top ranking candidates who can help meet economic goals.

Will candidates be ranked using CRS?

Express Entry candidates in the pool are ranked using a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS evaluates a candidate based on human capital factors, by assessing age, education, language skills, work experience and more.

This score will still be relevant in sending invitations for category-based draws, as IRCC will send invitations to top ranking categories who are eligible for the category being targeted in that draw.

Find out if you are eligible for category-based draws

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