IRCC outlines targets for category based Express Entry invitations

Julia Hornstein
Published: August 14, 2023

A new report by the Globe and Mail sheds additional light on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) Express Entry category-based selection targets for 2023.

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IRCC began holding category-based Express Entry draws in late June. There are six categories in total, which have been chosen to achieve specific economic goals.

In data obtained from IRCC, the Globe and Mail reports IRCC will put considerably more emphasis on recruiting STEM professions. In particular, between 28 per cent and 31 per cent of invitations that are issued through Express Entry this year are expected to go to people with recent experience in certain STEM jobs, such as software developers and data scientists.

So far, there has only been one round of STEM invites that went to 500 applicants.

The target for STEM professions is much higher than for the other occupations categories. Specifically, the target range for candidates with French proficiency is 11 per cent to 15 percent. The target for specific occupations within health care is nine percent to 12 percent, three to four percent for trades and one to two per cent each for transportation and agriculture occupations.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is the system IRCC uses the manage the applications of skilled workers who want to become permanent residents of Canada. It manages three programs, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

Once a candidate submits a profile through Express Entry, candidates are ranked according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS is a points-based system that ranks candidates based on age, education, language skills, work experience and more. The Canadian government will select the highest scoring candidates from the Express Entry pool and provide them with an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

Express Entry has three different types of draws:

  • General rounds of invitation: IRCC invites those with the highest-ranking CRS scores to apply for permanent residence.
  • Program-specific rounds of invitation: IRCC invites those with the highest-ranking CRS scores who are eligible for a specific Express Entry program.
  • Category-based rounds of invitation: IRCC invites those with the highest-ranking CRS scores who are eligible for specific categories designated by IRCC aimed to promote certain economic goals.

What is category-based Express Entry selection?

IRCC has recently launched category-based selection draws for Express Entry candidates. 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 after a public consultation that drew 289 responses from various stakeholders across the country, labour market projections and input received by IRCC partners and the provinces and territories.

Since the launch of category-based draws, there has been three French language proficiency draws which have invited 6,900 applicants to apply for permanent residence. In addition, there has been two healthcare occupations draws inviting 2,000 applicants and one trades occupation draw inviting 1,500 applicants.

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