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Canada's New Category-Based Express Entry System: A New Era for Immigration

Updated: May 14

Canada's immigration landscape is changing. Two months ago, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) embarked upon a new journey with an expanded Express Entry program. This new initiative, the Category-Based selection, represents a significant shift in the way Canada selects its immigrants.

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Canada's New Category-Based Express Entry System

A Fresh Approach to Immigration

This new method allows Canada to categorize its invitation to apply to applicants whose education, work experience, training, and language ability align with the country's economic goals. On June 28, 2023, the first-ever category-based selection for Express Entry was conducted, targeting healthcare professionals. This selection resulted in a total of 500 professionals being invited from the express entry pool.

What Does Category-Based Selection Mean?

Category-based selections enable IRCC to issue invitations to apply (ITAs) to prospective candidates with specific skills, training, or language abilities. This system better aligns the selection of applicants with the most in-demand skills to receive permanent residence.

Annual Reporting and Changing Categories

The categories for this new Express Entry program can change on a yearly basis. Each year, the IRCC will report the categories they chose from the previous year, why and how they chose them, instructions to establish a category, and the number of invitations issued for each category.

The Role of CRS Scores

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score still plays a crucial role in the Express Entry draws. Category-based rounds of invitations will invite the top-ranking candidates in the pool who are eligible for the category being targeted for that round. This system gives candidates a better chance as their CRS score will only be ranked with those in the selected category rather than the entire Express Entry pool.

Types of Draws in Express Entry

Express Entry will hold different types of draws throughout the year, not just category-based draws. There will be three types of rounds: General rounds with no program-specific, program-specific draws, and category-specific draws.

Eligibility for Category-Based Rounds

To be eligible for an invitation through a category-based round, all requirements for that round must be met. There are also specific conditions that must be met depending on the category that is being targeted.

Exploring the Categories

The categories for the targeted draws in the Express Entry system are based on the National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes, skills, and education requirements. These categories include Healthcare, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), Trade, Transport, and Agriculture and Agri-Food. For the 2023 categories, eligibility includes: Among the five occupation-specific categories, all candidates must:

  1. have accumulated, at least 6 months of continuous work experience (in Canada or abroad) within the past 3 years in a single occupation listed as eligible.

  2. meet all requirements in the instructions for that round.

  3. Candidates who are invited based on strong French language proficiency must have French-language test results that show a minimum score of 7 in all 4 language abilities (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) on the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens.

Let Us Analyze the Categories based on the NOCs, Skills, and Education Requirement

To better understand the categories for the targeted draws in the Express Entry system, let's analyze the NOC codes, skills, and education requirements.

  1. Healthcare Category: There are 35 targeted NOC codes in the healthcare category, including Physicians, Dentists, and Registered and licenced Nurses among others.

  2. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Category: There are 24 targeted NOC codes under this category, including Computer Engineers, Software Developers, Civil Engineers, and Electrical Engineers among others.

  3. Trade Category: There are 10 targeted NOC codes in this category, including Carpenters, Electricians, and Plumbers.

  4. Transport Category: There are 10 targeted NOC codes under this category, including Truck Drivers, Airplane Pilots, and Air Traffic Controllers.

  5. Agriculture and Agri-Food Category: There are 3 NOC codes under this category, including Agricultural service contractors and farm supervisors. Butchers have also been added to this category.

Final Thoughts

Category-Based Express Entry is a groundbreaking step in the evolution of Canada's immigration policy. It allows for a more targeted approach to meeting the country's economic needs while providing a clearer pathway for skilled immigrants to call Canada home. Whether you are a healthcare professional, an engineer, a tradesperson, or have skills in any of the targeted categories, your path to a new life in Canada may have just become clearer.

Don’t miss the chance to apply with the newly launched Express Entry selection program, which offers an expanded pathway to permanent residency in Canada.

We understand that navigating the immigration process can be daunting. That's where we come in. Our seasoned team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) is ready to simplify the process for you. With a proven track record in Canadian immigration, we're committed to ensuring your application has the best possible outcome. Don't delay - tap into our expertise by scheduling a consultation today!

FAQs about the New Category-Based Express Entry for Canadian Immigration

What is the Category-Based Express Entry Program?

The Category-Based Express Entry program is a new initiative by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to issue invitations to applicants whose education, work experience, training, and language abilities align with Canada’s economic goals. This new program will allow more workers to be eligible for permanent residency.

When was the first Category-Based selection conducted?

What categories are to be expected in the Category-Based selection?

Will my CRS score still matter in the Category-Based selection?

What are the types of draws expected in the Express Entry system?

What are the requirements to be eligible for an invitation through a category-based round?

What occupations come under the Healthcare category?

What occupations come under the STEM category?

What occupations come under the Agriculture and Agri-Food category?

A Cautionary Note: The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained, and the readers are asked to refer to the government website for the most updated information.

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