Express Entry: Canada holds first-ever category-based selection for trades occupations

Edana Robitaille, Asheesh Moosapeta
Published: August 1, 2023

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has invited more candidates in the latest Express Entry draw of 2023.

On the 3rd of August, the department issued invitations to apply to 1,500 candidates in the first ever targeted category based Express Entry draw for candidates in the trades. The minimum required Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score was 388.

On Monday the 1st of August, IRCC announced that the first targeted draw for candidates with experience in trades professions, under Express Entry category-based selection. The category includes professions like carpentry, plumbing, and welding—and will help Canada attract more workers to its construction sector. To learn more about the different Express Entry categories, and assess whether you are eligible under any of them, click here.

Overview of the most recent Express Entry results

August 2nd  

On the 2nd of August, IRCC held a category-based draw for candidates with French proficiency, issuing 800 ITAs to those who are eligible for the category, with a minimum CRS score of 435. The previous targeted draw for French speakers took place on July 12th 

August 1st  

All-program Express Entry draws resumed on August 1st, as IRCC invited 2,000 candidates from the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Candian Experience Class (CEC). The minimum CRS score for this round was 517.  

August 1st marked the first all-program Express Entry draw since the 11th of July. 

July 11-12

IRCC invited 3,800 candidates to apply for permanent residency under a category-based selection draw for French-speaking candidates. They required a minimum CRS score of 375. The lowest CRS score for any Express Entry draw this year by a significant margin.

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On July 11, there were 800 candidates invited in an all-program draw with a minimum CRS score of 505.

July 4-7

The first full week of July saw Express Entry ITAs issued on four consecutive days for the first time in Express Entry history.

The July 4 draw was an unexpected all-program draw that saw 700 candidates invited. They required a minimum CRS score of 511, which is the highest CRS score of any all-program draw in 2023 so far.

On July 5 IRCC held a previously announced category-based selection draw for candidates with work experience in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations. This was the first draw for STEM candidates since category-based selection draw categories were announced on May 31. IRCC invited 500 candidates with a minimum CRS score of 486.

The draw on July 6 was also expected. IRCC invited 1,500 candidates with a minimum CRS of 463 in a category-based selection draw for healthcare professionals. It was the second round of invitations for this category.

On July 7, 2,300 invitations were issued to Express Entry candidates with strong French-speaking abilities and a minimum CRS of 439. French-speaking abilities is the only category-based selection criteria that is not occupation-specific.

June 27-28

IRCC held two draws in the last week of June. The first was an all-program draw inviting 4,300 candidates with a minimum CRS score of 486 on June 27.

This was followed the next day by the first-ever category-based selection round of invitations. IRCC invited 500 candidates with work experience in select healthcare occupations. They required a minimum CRS score of 476.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an application management system that oversees the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Candidates in the Express Entry pool are evaluated based on human capital factors such as work experience, occupation, language ability, education, and age. They are assigned a Comprehensive Ranking System score and ranked alongside other candidates in the application pool. The candidates with the highest scores are the most likely to receive invitations to apply

On May 31, IRCC introduced new category-based selection criteria that place more emphasis on specific attributes instead of solely relying on a high CRS score. There are six new categories for Express Entry candidates:

  • Healthcare
  • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions
  • Trades, such as carpenters, plumbers, and contractors
  • Transport
  • Agriculture and agri-food
  • Strong French-language proficiency

These categories were chosen to help close urgent gaps in Canada’s labour force as well as promote the French language outside of Quebec.

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