Everything you need to know about STEM occupations for Express Entry category-based draws
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has confirmed the first round of category-based draws for STEM professions will take place this week. Last week, IRCC held the first-ever round of category-based Express Entry draws, inviting healthcare workers.
Preference for Express Entry candidates who have a strong French language proficiency or work experience in the following fields will be given by IRCC.
- Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions
- Trades, such as carpenters, plumbers, and contractors
- Agriculture and agri-food
These categories were chosen based on information about labour market shortages and projections, and input received from IRCC partners, provinces and territories and stakeholder across the country.
Why were STEM occupations chosen?
Statistics Canada released a report at the end of 2022 stating that there is a gap in skills needed in Canada’s STEM labor force. This gap is due to the high rate of retirement and the evolving technology and automation of businesses and day to day life.
At the end of 2022 Q4, the Professional, Scientific, and Technical services category had 56,915 job vacancies in Canada.
One of the components of the 2023 Federal Budget is to invest $20 billion to support the building of major clean electricity and growth infrastructure projects, which in turn leads to an increase in demand for workers in the tech sector.
Canada’s AI sector is also growing, which has caused an increase in demand for tech workers. The Global AI index shows that Canada is ranked fourth for its global competitiveness in IV innovation, implementation and investment.
Further, many STEM occupations offer a competitive salary compared to other sectors. In 2021, the average compensation for this sector was $90,252, which is well above Canada’s average of $69,311. In addition, at the end of 2022 Q4, the average wage in the STEM sector was $35.80, which was more than double in other sectors like accommodation and food services.
Who is eligible for the STEM occupations category?
To be eligible under the new category for STEM professionals, you must:
- Meet the eligibility criteria of one of the Express Entry programs (the Federal Skilled Worker Program, or Canadian Experience Class, or Federal Skilled Trades Program)
- Have accumulated, within the past 3 years, at least 6 months of continuous work experience in one of the listed occupations
- Meet all of the other requirements in the instructions for the round
What are the STEM occupations?
There are 24 occupations in the STEM occupations category. Some of these occupations include:
- Civil engineers
- Data scientists
- Engineer managers
- Land surveyors
- Mathematicians, statisticians, and actuaries
- Software developers and programmers
- Urban and land use planners
- Web developers and programmers
How will Express Entry category-based rounds of invitation be chosen?
For category-based rounds of invitations, IRCC will send invitations to candidates to apply for permanent residence if they are eligible for a specific category. This criterion includes:
- Work in experience in a specific TEER category of the National Occupational Classification (NOC)
- Language ability in either English or French
How will Comprehensive Ranking System scores be considered?
Category based draws will occur on top of the general and program-specific draws by inviting top ranking candidates who can help meet economic goals. Candidates in the Express Entry pool are ranked using a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). This system ranks candidates based on age, education, language skills, work experience and more.
A candidates CRS score will still be very important for category-based draws. IRCC will send invitations to candidates with top ranking scores and who are also eligible for the category based draw.