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What you Need to Know about Express Entry Category-Based Draws

Skilled workers in healthcare, sciences/technology, transportation, agriculture, and trade occupations, as well as French-speaking immigrants, are amongst those groups who will benefit under new category-based Express Entry draws.

On May 31, 2023, the Canadian government announced new guidelines that will dictate how category-based selection will work in 2023. We have been anticipating this announcement since the summer of last year, when the government introduced changes to the Immigration, Refugee and Protection Act to allow Express Entry invitations based on specific occupational groups, language ability, education, and other attributes. Until now, Invitations to Apply under Canada’s Express Entry system have been of a general nature (open to any program that is managed under Express Entry) or specific to a particular immigration program. On the other hand, category-based invitations are supposed to make the system more responsive to current labour market needs and help address critical and chronic labour shortages across Canada.

Winners under 2023 Express Entry Draws

In 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will target the following six group under its category-based Express Entry draws:

  1. French-language proficiency
  2. Healthcare occupations
  3. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) occupations
  4. Trade occupations
  5. Transport occupations
  6. Agriculture and agri-food occupations

One of these groups will be targeted based on language selection. Eligible candidates must have attained a minimum level 7 in the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) in all for French language competencies (speaking, writing, reading and listening).  

The other five groups will be targeted based on work experience in one of 82 occupations in the five fields listed above. To qualify under these occupation-specific draws, an Express Entry candidate must have accumulated at least six months of continuous work experience (in Canada or abroad) in one of the individual occupations chosen for that draw. This experience must also be accumulated within the past three years. The full list of occupations can be found here.

There could be additional requirements listed under the instructions for a specific round of invitations under Express Entry.

At this time, it is unclear how many category-based draws will occur this year and if such draws will be specific to all programs under Express Entry or only impact draws under certain programs (for example, the Federal Skilled Work program, Canadian Experience Class, etc.). We also don’t know if the government will continue to hold general draws under all (or certain) programs, in addition to the category-based draws. We hope that general draws will continue to take place (albeit at a reduced frequency and higher score), but it is too soon to tell. We are also unsure at this time if there will be draws where several categories are invited at the same time, based on a minimum Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, or where only one of those listed categories will be invited.   

Understanding the CEC and Express Entry

The Legal Professionals Education Network (LPEN) offers a live webinar (or video recording) of an in-depth discussion on the practical aspects of the application process through Express Entry, including applications under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). This course, taught by lawyer Andrew Carvajal, covers the preparation of a permanent residence application under Express Entry, from completing the online form, preparing employment confirmation letters, deciding on what documentation to include, ensuring completeness of the file, and avoiding costly mistakes. Simultaneously, participants will receive 5 hours of CPD content.

For more details, visit our website.

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