Who is the most likely to receive an Express Entry ITA in 2023?

Edana Robitaille
Published: November 15, 2023

IRCC issued the majority of Express Entry ITAs to candidates in the Canadian Experience Class.

New data from the Government of Canada provides more detail on the human capital profiles of those who have received an Express Entry invitation between January and September 2023.

During this period, Canada issued 53,455 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to Express Entry candidates.

The data does not include the ITAs that Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued in Express Entry draws throughout October. An additional 9,173 ITAs were issued in October.

The numbers are broken down into several categories to show the number of ITAs by program, province, Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, age, and occupation.

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Express Entry is an application management system that oversees candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).  It also manages a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Each program has unique eligibility criteria, but all candidates are evaluated and ranked using the Comprehensive Ranking System that assigns point values for a candidate’s human capital attributes such as work experience, age, language ability and education.

The data also considers Express Entry candidates who have received a nomination through the PNP. A provincial nomination automatically adds an additional 600 CRS points to an Express Entry candidate’s profile.

Overall, based solely on the available data, the most likely candidates to receive an ITA are CEC candidates in their twenties who work as software engineers and live, or intend to live, in Ontario.

Invitations by program

In the first nine months of 2023, most ITAs were issued to candidates in the Canadian Experience Class. CEC candidates all have at least one year of eligible Canadian work experience and meet IRCC’s language proficiency criteria. In total, 23,910 CEC candidates received an ITA (nearly 45% of all ITAs).

Federal Skilled Worker Program candidates got the second -most ITAs at 15,855 (about 30% of total ITAs) and Provincial Nominee Program candidates were third highest at 13,655 (some 26% of all ITAs).

There were no ITAs issued to candidates in the FSTP.

Top occupations

There was some overlap in the occupations that received the most ITAs per program. Software engineers ranked among the top five occupations for the following three programs:

Canadian Experience Class

  • Software engineers and designers: 1,725
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers: 1,745
  • Information systems analysts and consultants: 1,375
  • CEC Food Service Supervisors: 1,240
  • Administrative assistants: 855

Federal Skilled Worker Program

  • Financial auditors and accountants: 650
  • Dentists: 570
  • Software engineers and designers: 565
  • Professional occupations in advertising, marketing, and public relations: 505
  • Database analysts and data administrators: 420

Provincial Nominee Program

  • Other occupations: 970
  • Software engineers and designers: 820
  • Information systems analysts and consultants: 615
  • Computer programmers and interactive media developers: 595
  • Welders and related machine operators: 420

Invitations by CRS score

About half of all Express Entry candidates (26,070) had a CRS score of 451-500 and 11,640 had scores between 501- 600.

Only 225 Express Entry candidates received an ITA with a score between 601-700 and 60 scored between 701-800. A further 790 scored in the range of 801-900.

Notably, more than 7,550 Express Entry candidates had a CRS score between 901-1,000 and over 5,040 had scores higher than 1,000. The only way to have a CRS score of about 600 is by receiving a provincial nomination, which on its own accounts for 600 out of the maximum 1,200 CRS points an Express Entry candidate may obtain.

Invitations by province

More than half of all Express Entry candidates were either living or intended to live in Ontario. Data shows that 31,550 ITAs were issued to these candidates.

British Columbia had the second-highest number of ITAs at 10, 655 and 5,280 candidates in Alberta received ITAs.

Nova Scotia received 1,595 ITAs. All other remaining provinces had fewer than 1,500 each.

Invitations by age

Most candidates to receive an ITA were in the age range of 19-29. In total 28,970 candidates in their twenties received ITAs.

A further 20,865 candidates in their thirties were invited to apply. Less than 4,000 candidates were issued ITAs in their 40s or older.

IRCC assigns a higher CRS score to younger candidates based on longitudinal analysis conducted by Statistics Canada which has shown newcomers who arrive younger have more time to integrate into the Canadian labour market.

The Statistics Canada research shows age is one of the strongest predictors of immigrant labour market integration. Newcomers who arrive at a younger age tend to have more time to improve their English and/or French skills, gain Canadian work experience, and develop a Canadian professional network. A single Express Entry candidate aged 20-29 receives 110 CRS points. A single 19-year-old candidate receives 105 points.

Express Entry immigration levels

The number of Express Entry candidates invited from January to September 2023 exceeds the total number invited in 2022 (37,335) but still falls short of the 108,105 in 2021.

The past two years were outliers due to the pandemic. In 2021, IRCC increased ITAs to CEC candidates to help achieve its goal of landing over 400,000 immigrants amid the pandemic, including border restrictions. This however contributed to a backlog and slower service standards, resulting in IRCC reducing Express Entry ITAs in 2022.

Since the pandemic, Canadian Experience Class candidates have received the majority of ITAs. Prior to the pandemic, the FSWP was the leading program for ITAs.

Moving forward, IRCC has set a target of 110,770 permanent resident admissions to Canada in 2024 through Express Entry programs, rising to 117,500 annually in both 2025 and 2026. The number of ITAs issued tends to be lower than the number of admissions since successful Express Entry candidates are eligible to land with their partners and children who also meet IRCC criteria.

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