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  • Writer's pictureImmergity Immigration Consultant

Changes to Express Entry - Category Based Selection

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

Changes to Express Entry

Canada has launched a new immigration process to welcome skilled newcomers with work experience in priority jobs as permanent residents through the express entry system for skilled workers. This initiative is a response to the numerous vacant positions across the country, with immigration being a crucial solution to this issue. The Canadian Government is building an immigration system that acts as a catalyst for growth, empowering businesses, addressing their labour needs, and strengthening French communities.

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced the first-ever launch of category-based selection for Canada’s flagship economic immigration management system, Express Entry. This new selection method will allow Canada to issue invitations to prospective permanent residents with specific skills, training, or language ability.

This year, the category-based selection invitations to apply for permanent residence will focus on candidates who have a strong French language proficiency or 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

The category-based selection will make Express Entry more responsive to Canada’s changing economic and labour market needs while building on the high human capital approach that has been a hallmark of Canada’s successful economic immigration system.

Express Entry is Canada’s flagship application management system for those seeking to immigrate permanently through the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the Canadian Experience Class and a portion of the Provincial Nominee Program.

In June 2022, the Government of Canada made changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to allow for the selection of immigrants based on key attributes that support economic priorities, such as specific work experience or knowledge of French.

The first category-based invitations to apply are expected to be sent this summer. Immigration accounts for almost 100% of Canada’s labour force growth, helping to address labour shortages in key sectors. According to Employment and Social Development Canada, the number of occupations facing shortages doubled between 2019 and 2021.

This new category based selection for express entry is a testament to Canada's commitment to welcoming in-demand professionals into communities across the country. It also ensures that French communities can continue to live their life in Canada in the official language of their choice.

This announcement by the Canadian Government is a significant development that could have a profound impact on the immigration prospects of skilled workers.

Benefits of Category Based Express Entry

The introduction of category-based selection in the Express Entry system is a major advantage for skilled workers in priority fields. It means that individuals with experience in healthcare, STEM professions, trades, transport, and agriculture and agri-food are likely to have a higher chance of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residency.

Moreover, the emphasis on French language proficiency could benefit Francophone immigrants, providing them with more opportunities to live and work in Canada. This focus on French language skills is also a positive development for French-speaking communities in Canada, as it will help to ensure their vitality and growth.

Effect on Processing Times

While the announcement does not specifically mention how this new process of category based selection for express entry will affect processing times, it could potentially lead to faster processing for those in the priority categories. By focusing on specific skills and professions, the Canadian Government can more efficiently process applications from individuals who meet these criteria. However, it's also possible that there could be an initial surge in applications due to the new process, which might temporarily increase processing times.

Impact on the Canadian Economy

The changes to express entry process are likely to have a positive impact on the Canadian economy. By targeting skilled workers in sectors with labour shortages, the government is addressing a key economic challenge. Filling these gaps can lead to increased productivity and economic growth.

Furthermore, by facilitating the immigration of skilled workers, Canada is investing in its future. These individuals bring valuable skills and experience that can drive innovation and contribute to the country's competitiveness on the global stage.

What it means for exisitng and new candiates?

While the specific details of the new category-based selection process for express entry have not been fully outlined in the announcement, based on the information available, here are some potential next steps and changes that candidates with existing profiles in the Express Entry pool might consider:

1. Review Your Profile: Firstly, candidates should review their existing Express Entry profile. Ensure that all information is up-to-date, particularly in relation to work experience, skills, and language proficiency.

2. Highlight Relevant Skills and Experience: Given that the new process will focus on specific fields (healthcare, STEM professions, trades, transport, and agriculture and agri-food), candidates with experience in these areas should make sure this is clearly highlighted in their profile.

3. Improve French Language Proficiency: The announcement indicates a focus on French language proficiency. If you have French language skills, ensure this is reflected in your profile. If not, you might consider investing in French language training to improve your prospects.

4. Stay Informed: Keep an eye on official updates from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Further details on the timing of invitations for individual categories and how to apply will be announced in the coming weeks.

5. Consult with an Immigration Expert: If you're unsure about how these changes might affect your application, it could be beneficial to consult with an immigration expert. They can provide advice tailored to your specific situation and help you navigate the new process.

Remember, these are general suggestions based on the information available. The specific steps you should take may vary depending on your individual circumstances. Always refer to the official IRCC website or consult with an immigration expert for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

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