Canada’s Express Entry system is a fast and efficient way for skilled workers to immigrate to Canada. It was introduced almost ten years ago as a way to streamline the immigration process while helping Canada meet its labour market needs. Since its inception, the Express Entry system has been widely successful in helping thousands of skilled workers from around the world immigrate to Canada while contributing to Canada’s economy and starting new lives as permanent residents of Canada. This blog will outline some of the key changes that the Express Entry system has seen over recent years and the impact of these changes on potential applicants.

Express Entry Overview

Canada’s Express Entry system is an online immigration application system that manages applications for three federal immigration programs:

  • the Federal Skilled Worker Program;
  • the Federal Skilled Trades Program; and
  • the Canadian Experience Class.

These programs are all designed for skilled workers who want to live and work in Canada permanently.

Applications in the Express Entry Stream

In order to be eligible for Express Entry, a prospective applicant must meet the basic requirements for one of the three immigration programs under Express Entry. These minimum requirements include:

  • having a high enough necessary education level;
  • relevant and sufficient work experience;
  • and proficient language skills.

Additional program-specific requirements will also need to be satisfied depending on the program an applicant proceeds under. Depending on the program, they may have more work experience or higher education requirements than others. Applicants will also need to pass a medical exam and have a clean criminal record in order to apply.

Online Applications and the Comprehensive Ranking System Score

If an applicant thinks they meet the eligibility requirements, they can create an online profile through the Express Entry system. This profile must include information about their:

  • education;
  • work experience;
  • language skills; and
  • other relevant information.

Based on the information in the applicant’s profile, they will be given a Comprehensive Ranking System score. The Comprehensive Ranking System score is used to rank an applicant’s profile against other candidates in the Express Entry pool. The higher an applicant’s Comprehensive Ranking System score, the more likely they are to be invited to apply for immigration to Canada. The Comprehensive Ranking System score is based on a number of factors, including age, education, work experience, language skills, and other factors. An applicant can improve their Comprehensive Ranking System score by obtaining additional education or work experience, or improving their language skills.

Once an applicant has created an Express Entry profile, they will be placed in the Express Entry pool with other candidates. The Canadian government holds regular draws to invite the highest-ranked candidates from within the pool to apply for immigration. After draws occur, the minimum invitation Comprehensive Ranking System score is typically made publicly available. When someone is invited to apply, they will have 60 days to submit a complete application, including all required documents and fees. If their application is approved, they will be issued a permanent resident visa, allowing them to live and work in Canada on a permanent basis.

Recent Changes to Express Entry

In June 2022, the Canadian Government made changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that recently had ramifications on Canada’s Express Entry system. In June 2022, the changes made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act allowed for the selection of immigrants to be made based on key attributes that support economic priorities, such as specific work experience or knowledge of French. This change meant that specific professions and potential immigrants can be targeted by the Canadian Government for Express Entry admission. This is a substantial change, as previously, candidates for Express Entry would be generally invited to apply based on their Comprehensive Ranking System score.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada explained that these legislative changes allow Canada to invite workers to Canada to specifically address Canada’s labour needs. Further, the emphasis on French language skills allows for more targeted Francophone immigration.

Based on these changes, Canada announced that category-based invitations would be focusing on candidates who are strong in French language proficiency, or have sufficient work experience in specific fields. As such, applicants in the following fields are being targeted:

  • healthcare, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM);
  • trades, such as carpenters, plumbers and contractors;
  • transportation;
  • agriculture and agri-food.

Category Specific Draws in 2023

Thus far in 2023, there have been multiple category based selection invitations issued as part of Express Entry. On August 1, Express Entry invitations were issued for the first time as part of the category-based selection, which, in this case, was focused on applicants with experience working in various trades. On September 18, a round of invitations followed for those who have work experience in the transportation industry. Most recently, on September 27, there were invitations issued for those who have experience in the agriculture and agri-food sectors.

Notably, there has not been a category based selection for those in healthcare or STEM yet. Given the Canadian government’s emphasis on those fields in its announcement regarding the implemented changes, it is likely that there will be draws for those fields at some point in the near future.

The change in policy benefits some Express Entry applicants, for example, applicants who have experience in a specific field in which the Canadian government plans to have a category based selection draw, as this increases their chances of receiving an invitation. However, applicants who do not have experience in the aforementioned fields are now less likely to receive an Express Entry invitation, as they will not be invited in the category-specific draws at this time.

Contact Garson Immigration Law for Assistance With Immigration Applications Under the Express Entry System

The experienced immigration lawyers at Garson Immigration Law are exclusively dedicated to helping individuals navigate complex immigration matters. We successfully guide clients through the immigration process, with an eye toward the ever-changing policy regulations, including the changes to the Express Entry system. We will work to find an effective solution for your individual immigration needs and ensure your application positions you for the best possible outcome.

Our team provides legal solutions to the most challenging immigration situations for both businesses and individual clients. Our team of talented immigration lawyers regularly assist with a wide variety of immigration matters, including permanent residencecitizenshipwork and study permits, and U.S. immigration. To schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team, please call us at 416-321-2860 or contact us online.

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