IRCC invites candidates in first ever category-based Express Entry draw for agriculture and agri-food occupations

Edana Robitaille
Published: September 26, 2023

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has issued 600 invitations to apply (ITAs) in the first ever category-based Express Entry draw for agriculture and agri-food occupations.  

Candidates required a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 354. 

IRCC says focusing on candidates with experience in the agriculture and agri-food sector—including agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors, and retail and wholesale butchers—will help the sector attract the skilled talent it needs across the country. 

Canada’s agriculture and agri-food industry exported nearly $92.8 billion in agriculture and food products globally in 2022. 

Today’s draw is the third Express Entry draw of the week. Yesterday, September 27, saw 500 candidates with a minimum CRS of 472 invited from the French-speaking proficiency category.  

On September 26, 3,000 candidates were invited in an all-program draw with a minimum CRS of 504. 

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Summary of Express Entry draw results since June 2023

DateDraw TypeNumber of ITAsMinimum CRS
Dec 19Trade occupations1,000425
Dec 18All-program1,325542
Dec 8STEM occupations5,900481
Dec 7French language proficiency1,000470
Dec 6All-program4,750561
Oct 26Healthcare occupations3,600431
Oct 25French language proficiency300486
Oct 24PNP-only1,548776
Oct 10All-program3,725500
Sept 28Agriculture and agri-food occupations600354
Sept 27French language proficiency500472
Sept 26All-program3,000504
Sept 20Transport occupations1,000435
Sept 19All-program3,200531
Aug 15All-program4,300496
Aug 3Trade occupations1,500388
Aug 2French language proficiency800435
Aug 1All-program2,000517
July 12French language proficiency3,800375
July 11All-program 800505
July 7French language proficiency2,300439
July 6Healthcare occupations1500463
July 5STEM occupations500486
July 4All-program 700511
June 28Healthcare occupations500476
June 27All-program4,300486
June 8All-program4,800486

What is category-based selection

In May this year, IRCC announced that it would begin holding some draws for Express Entry candidates based on one specific attribute rather than their overall CRS score.

The introduction of categories was expected to take place this year following a change to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) in 2022 that gives the immigration minister the authority to select Express Entry candidates who are likely to help Canada meet its mandate to strengthen the economy and promote the French language outside of Quebec.

To that end, six new categories were created for in-demand occupations and newcomers with strong French-language abilities. The five occupation-based categories are:

• Healthcare;
• STEM professions;
• Trades;
• Transport; and
• Agriculture and agri-food

Since the first category-based draw for healthcare workers on June 28, IRCC has held draws in each of these categories except for Agriculture and agri-food. The highest number of category based ITAs (6,900) have been issued to candidates with strong abilities in French.

Those who wish to immigrate to Canada through category-based selection must be in the Express Entry pool and meet a minimum CRS score.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an application management system for economic immigration candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Each of these programs uses the Comprehensive Ranking System to evaluate and rank candidates according to specific human capital factors such as work experience, occupation, education, age, and language ability. Each attribute has a specific point value and the candidates who obtain the highest overall scores are the most likely to receive an invitation to apply in an upcoming Express Entry draw.

Eligibility for Express Entry depends on the program. For example, the FSWP and the FSTP program have different minimum Canadian Language Benchmark requires and while the FSTP and FSWP require a minimum amount of settlement funds, the CEC does not require that candidates have them.

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