Express Entry: Frequently Asked Questions about the New Category-Based Selection

Posted by in CIC News, on June 7, 2023

Recently, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced the introduction of a new category-based selection system for candidates in Express Entry managed programs. This exciting development comes almost a year after a bill was passed granting the immigration minister the authority to invite Express Entry candidates with specific attributes to support Canada’s economic goals. While targeted draws were expected to begin this year, IRCC had not provided any official indication of the attributes that would be used as selection criteria in these draws. To shed light on this new development, let’s explore some of the most common questions that Express Entry candidates may have regarding the new selection categories.

Who is eligible?

Under the new draw categories, Express Entry candidates will be eligible if they have 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
  • Strong French language proficiency (at least NCLC 7 in reading, writing, listening, and speaking)

Find out if you are Eligible

When will the targeted draws start?

The draws under the new categories are expected to commence later this summer, although an exact date has not yet been provided.

Do I still need to have an Express Entry profile to be selected if I work in one of the eligible occupations?

Yes, candidates must still meet the eligibility criteria for an Express Entry managed program. The eligible programs are the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Will the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) no longer count for Express Entry?

A candidate’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score will continue to be considered for Express Entry draws. IRCC will still conduct draws where candidates are invited without reference to any of the six categories. This could include all-program draws or program-specific draws.

IRCC has stated that category-based rounds of invitations will rank candidates in the Express Entry pool based on meeting the category requirements, and then invite the top-ranking candidates to apply for permanent residence.

Are the criteria different in each new category?

Among the five occupation-specific categories, all candidates must:

  • 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.
  • Meet all the requirements stated in the instructions for that round.

Candidates invited based on strong French language proficiency must have French-language test results that demonstrate a minimum score of 7 in all four language abilities (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) on the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens. They must also meet all the requirements outlined in the instructions for that round.

Will there still be Express Entry draws for Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates?

IRCC has confirmed that it will continue to invite candidates with a provincial or territorial nomination through general and PNP-specific rounds. These candidates have already demonstrated their skills, education, and work experience, making them valuable contributors to the economy of their respective province or territory.

Find out if you are Eligible

Why are there new categories?

The introduction of these new categories aligns with the mandate of Canada’s immigration minister to support the country’s economic goals and promote the growth of French-speaking communities outside of Quebec, thereby safeguarding French as one of Canada’s official languages.

The targeted categories aim to address the high number of vacant positions across Canada. By focusing on specific occupations, targeted immigration can help alleviate labor shortages in various industries and contribute to the growth of French speakers in minority communities outside of Quebec.

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