Canada Express Entry 2023
The year 2023 has seen notable updates in the Canada Express Entry system.
In the first half of 2023, Express Entry displayed trends reminiscent of those observed in 2022, following the restarting of draws after an 18-month pause. Draws included candidates from all programs, were exclusively for the Provincial Nominee Program, or, in a singular instance, solely for Federal Skilled Workers in Express Entry 2023.
Draws were typically conducted every two weeks, with occasional instances of more frequent occurrences. In March 2023, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) invited over 21,000 Express Entry candidates across four draws, marking the second-highest monthly invitation count ever recorded.
Category-based selection rounds of invitations
In May, the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced six additional categories for Canada Express Entry draws. This development was expected following a modification to the Immigrant and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) in June 2022. The amendment granted the immigration minister the discretion to issue Invitations to Apply (ITAs) based on specific attributes, rather than relying solely on an overall high Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.
These new categories are tailored to emphasize candidates with attributes aligned with IRCC’s goals, including promoting French proficiency outside of Quebec and utilizing immigration to enhance Canada’s labor force and economic strength.
The categories are:
- Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions
- Trades, such as carpenters, plumbers, and contractors
- Agriculture and agri-food
- Strong French proficiency
On June 28, the inaugural draw based on specific categories invited 500 healthcare professionals to submit their applications. Since then, using this category-based selection process, IRCC has issued invitations to more than 16,000 Express Entry candidates.
Type of express entry draws
Among the 42 Express Entry draws conducted in 2023, the majority were all-program draws, encompassing candidates from the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, and Canadian Experience Class. Notably, no Invitations to Apply (ITAs) were issued to candidates from the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) throughout the year.
Breaking it down further, 19 of the Express Entry draws included candidates from all programs, 5 exclusively targeted Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates, one draw was solely for the Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP), and the remaining 17 adopted a category-based selection approach.
CRS Score requirement
Recent data from IRCC indicates that the majority of Express Entry candidates who received Invitations to Apply (ITAs) between January and September 2023 fell within the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score range of 451-500, totaling 26,070 individuals. Furthermore, 11,640 candidates had scores ranging from 501-600, while an additional 12,590 boasted CRS scores between 900 and 1,200, the maximum possible score. These candidates likely received a nomination through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), contributing 600 CRS points to their existing score.
Examining draw types, the lowest CRS for an all-program draw was on March 29, with a score of 481, resulting in 7,000 candidates receiving ITAs. Conversely, the highest CRS for an all-program draw was 561 on December 6, with 4,750 candidates securing ITAs.
For draws exclusive to the Provincial Nominee Program, the highest CRS score reached 791 on February 15 in a draw for 699 candidates, while the lowest was 691 on May 10 in a draw for 589 PNP candidates.
A single draw for Federal Skilled Workers occurred on February 2, with a minimum CRS score of 489, inviting 3,300 candidates.
In the category-based selection rounds, the lowest score was recorded for candidates in the only draw for agriculture and agri-food occupations, registering a score of 354 on September 28, with IRCC extending invitations to 600 candidates.
For category-based draws with the highest scores in 2023, two instances occurred. On July 5, 500 candidates in STEM occupations received ITAs with a minimum score of 486. Subsequently, on October 25, 300 French-language proficiency candidates secured ITAs in a draw with the same minimum score.
Frequency of draws
Between January and June, Express Entry draws were consistently conducted every two weeks, and at times, even weekly. The introduction of category-based selection draws added an element of unpredictability to the timing of Invitations to Apply (ITAs) by IRCC. However, ministerial instructions indicate a trend since July, where one week each month witnesses three or four distinct Express Entry draws occurring between Tuesday and Thursday.
The peak in draw frequency occurred in December, featuring seven draws spanning from December 6 to 21. The second-highest volume was observed in five draws from July 4 to 12, while September also hosted five draws over two weeks. October saw four draws, with three of them concentrated within a single week.
A gap in draws was noted between October 26 and December 6. IRCC did not officially confirm the reason behind this pause, leaving room for speculation about potential factors such as persistent technical glitches, staffing challenges, or the department having already met the Express Entry targets outlined for the year in the Immigration Levels Plan.
What to expect in 2024 Canada Express entry?
According to the recently revealed Immigration Levels Plan for 2024-2026, Canada aims to admit 110,000 new permanent residents through the Canada Express Entry system in 2024.
In the previous year, IRCC set a target of 82,880 Express Entry candidates for admission in 2023. From the first draw on January 11 to the December 21 draw, the department issued 110,266 Invitations to Apply (ITAs).
It’s crucial to acknowledge that the issuance of ITAs does not guarantee immediate admission, as the processing of a Canada Express Entry application by IRCC can take up to six months. Consequently, several ITAs issued in 2023 may be counted as admissions in 2024. Additionally, the minister has the authority to modify existing categories for category-based selection based on the outcomes of IRCC’s annual report to Parliament and feedback from stakeholders, including provincial and territorial governments and settlement services.
These stakeholders are well-positioned to evaluate how Canada Express Entry candidates integrate into the local labor force and economy and whether they successfully secure employment in their respective fields. If the minister determines that the current categories fall short of fulfilling IRCC’s mandate to invite candidates most likely to contribute to Canada’s economy, there is a possibility of creating a different set of categories.
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