Canada Express Entry Changes in 2023

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  • January 16, 2023

IRCC recently consulted with stakeholders and the public on adapting Express Entry application management system to better meet Canada’s economic needs and labour shortages.

This will be accomplished by creating Express Entry categories that focus on educational credentials, work experience, and language knowledge instead of solely on a high Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.

IRCC is considering inviting Express Entry candidates based on their occupational background, labour shortages in sectors of the economy, whether they have lived in Canada as international students or temporary foreign workers, and their French proficiency.

A skilled worker can apply for permanent residence with Express Entry via one of three pathways: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

The CRS is currently used to assign scores to eligible candidates applying for permanent residency through these programs. Those with the highest scores are most likely to receive an invitation to apply (ITA).

The consultations were based on the success of the same method used for creating the annual Immigration Levels Plan, which sets Canada’s yearly immigration targets over three years.

Since the consultation process only concluded on January 8, 2023, the results of the consultation process are not yet available. The IRCC has stated that targeted draws will begin in spring this year. After the Minister determines the categories, they will be announced prior to invitations being sent.


Possible Categories

Selection of candidates based on their work experience in a particular occupation or sector

The IRCC is considering creating a category that includes work experience in occupations or industries experiencing chronic labour shortages. In the consultation process, IRCC asked respondents to identify labour market areas suffering from long-term shortages and to suggest ways in which immigration can complement Canada’s existing workforce.

The most common primary occupations of those invited to apply for permanent residence through Express Entry between 2019 and 2021 were:

  • food service supervisors
  • administrative assistants
  • financial auditors and accountants
  • retail sales supervisors
  • software engineers and designers
  • professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations
  • cooks
  • computer programmers and interactive media developers
  • information systems analysts and consultants
  • user support technicians
  • restaurant and food service managers
  • administrative officers


Making the transition to permanent residence easier for international graduates

In IRCC’s opinion, a new Express Entry category focusing on international student graduates could address critical shortages more effectively. For example, a new Express Entry category could include graduates from Designated Learning Institutions with degrees or diplomas in in-demand fields.

The IRCC notes international students who have graduated from Canadian universities are well placed for economic immigration since they are proficient in at least one official language and have Canadian educational qualifications and work experience. The majority of them are in their core working years, meaning they are able to contribute for many years to the Canadian economy.

In 2021, over 88,000 international graduates transitioned to permanent residence through Express Entry, an increase of 80% over 2017. Even so, obtaining permanent residence with a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) can be difficult and time-consuming.


Transitioning temporary foreign workers to permanent residence

In the same way as international student graduates, IRCC is considering the creation of a category that would enable more temporary foreign workers to be eligible for Express Entry.  In the consultation, stakeholders raised concerns about current pathways for permanent residence not keeping up with the supply of temporary foreign workers capable of meeting Canada’s future labour needs. Providing temporary foreign workers with access to global talent promotes economic growth by filling urgent job vacancies.

In general, immigrants with previous temporary Canadian work experience have been found to have better labour market integration and are better equipped to transfer their skills when needed.

A total of 168,600 people transitioned from temporary worker status to permanent residence in 2021, representing 64% of all economic immigration admissions.


Selecting Francophone and bilingual candidates

The IRCC is also considering inviting candidates with French language skills. Both bilingual and French-speaking candidates could be invited.

Canada launched the Francophone Immigration Strategy in 2019, which sets a target for 4.4% of new immigrants outside of Quebec to speak French by 2023.

Only 30,000 of the 110,000 economic class francophone immigrants who settled in Canada between 2017 and 2021 settled outside of Quebec. The government can strengthen Canada’s bilingual character and fill labour gaps in communities where French is a requirement for a job by inviting more francophone candidates through Express Entry.




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