Canada holds first Express Entry draw of 2023

Canada held its first Express Entry draw of the year today, and the first since November 23.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued invitations to 5,500 candidates with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 507. Qualified candidates were invited from the Canadian Experience Classes (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Federal. Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). All are programs that operate under the Express Entry system.

Express Entry in 2022

Last year was special for Express Entry. The ministerial directive states that in 2022, 46,538 ITAs were issued to Express Entry candidates in 23 draws. This number includes draws between January and July, which were exclusively for candidates in the Provincial Nominated Program (PNP). The all-program Express Entry draw was put on hold for 18 months starting December 2020. The pause was due to a backlog in applications due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions. During this period, Invitations to Apply (ITA) were issued only to CEC or PNP candidates. However, in September 2021, IRCC stopped the draw for CEC as well. Total ITAs for all program draws alone, which began in July and spanned the rest of the year, were 35,750.

The lowest minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score in the previous Express Entry draw was 491.

Express Entry getting ready for change

In the second half of 2022, the IRCC set the stage for expected changes to express entry in 2023. For example, in November, IRCC implemented NOC 2021, an updated form on NOC 2016. The National Occupation Classification (NOC) system is used to determine the occupation and skill level of an Express Entry candidate.

The IRCC moved from classifying 0-D level skills to a system based on Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER). The new TEER system has modified the skill level 0-E of NOC 2016 and created five TEERS equivalent to it. Under NOC 2021, 16 new businesses are now eligible to apply for Economic Immigration programs managed by Express Entry, such as FSWP or CEC.

Candidates who already have their profile submitted in IRCC Express Entry pool were invited to switch their NOC to new NOC 2021 freely. The update should be done for each position (job) included in their IRCC profile. Failure to do so will disqualify the candidates from receiving Invitation to Apply (ITA).

Canada will also increase the number of candidates invited through Express Entry programs based on the Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025 released on November 1. In 2023, 82,880 immigrants will be admitted to Canada as permanent residents through Express Entry. This will increase to 109,020 in 2024 and 114,000 in 2025, or about one-fifth of Canada’s total permanent resident admission targets. These lofty goals emphasize the importance Canada places on economic immigration in the face of continuing labor shortages. Immigration is responsible for 90% of labor force growth and about 75% of population growth in Canada.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is the application management system for three Canadian immigration programs: the Canadian Experience Classes (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). Provincial Nominated Program (PNP) candidates in the Express Entry pool are already eligible for at least one of these programs.

Express Entry uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), a points-based system, to rank candidates’ profiles. Top scoring candidates receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and can then apply for permanent residence.

After a candidate applies, an IRCC official reviews the application and decides whether they are approved. Once this is completed, if approved, the candidate is now a permanent resident of Canada and one step closer to becoming a Canadian citizen.

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