Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has resumed its Express Entry draws in September after a month-long hiatus. The latest Express Entry draw invited 3,200 candidates across all programs with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 531.
This is the first all-program Express Entry draw since August 15, 2023. During the summer months, IRCC held a number of category-based selection rounds of invitations, targeting candidates in specific occupations or with specific work experience.
IRCC has not provided an explanation for the pause in all-program draws, but it is likely due to the department’s focus on processing applications from candidates who have already been invited to apply for permanent residence.
The resumption of Express Entry draws is a positive sign for skilled workers who are hoping to immigrate to Canada. It is also a reminder that IRCC is committed to processing immigration applications in a timely manner.
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What is Express Entry?
Express Entry is a points-based immigration system used by Canada to select skilled workers for permanent residence. It is the most popular immigration program in Canada, and it is responsible for bringing in the majority of skilled immigrants to the country each year.
To be eligible for Express Entry, you must meet the minimum requirements for one of the three following programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
Once you are eligible for Express Entry, you can create a profile in the Express Entry pool. Your profile will be evaluated using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which assigns points based on your age, education, work experience, language skills, and other factors.
The candidates with the highest CRS scores are invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada. These invitations are issued through regular Express Entry draws, which are held every two weeks.
If you are invited to apply for permanent residence, you will need to submit a full application and supporting documents. If your application is approved, you will be granted permanent resident status in Canada.
Express Entry candidates who have received a provincial nomination are more likely to receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence. This is because provincial nominees automatically receive an additional 600 CRS points.
To be eligible for a provincial nomination, you must meet the specific requirements of the province or territory where you want to live. Each province and territory has its own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), and each PNP has its own eligibility criteria.
Category-based selection is a new Express Entry process that allows IRCC to target candidates with specific skills and experience for permanent residence. IRCC has announced six new categories for category-based selection:
- Strong French-speaking ability
- Healthcare professions
- STEM professions
- Agriculture and agri-food
Eligible candidates for an ITA through category-based selection must still be in an Express Entry program and have a valid CRS score. However, IRCC will rank candidates within each category separately, so it is not necessary to have the highest possible CRS score to receive an ITA.
IRCC has said that category-based selection will help Canada fill urgent job vacancies in in-demand sectors of the workforce and strengthen the economy. The categories were chosen following discussions with provincial governments, business associations, and other stakeholders.
How to apply for category-based selection?
To apply for category-based selection, candidates must first create an Express Entry profile. Once their profile is complete, they can select the category or categories they are interested in.
IRCC will hold regular category-based selection draws. When a draw is held, IRCC will invite the highest-ranking candidates from each category to apply for permanent residence.
Candidates who are invited to apply for permanent residence will need to submit a full application and supporting documents. If their application is approved, they will be granted permanent resident status in Canada.
Benefits of category-based selection
Category-based selection offers a number of benefits for eligible candidates, including:
- Increased chances of receiving an ITA: Candidates in in-demand categories are more likely to receive an ITA than candidates in the general Express Entry pool.
- Faster processing times: IRCC has said that it will prioritize processing applications from candidates who have been invited through category-based selection.
- Access to provincial and territorial nomination programs (PNPs): Many PNPs offer additional points to candidates who have been invited through category-based selection. This can make it easier for candidates to obtain a provincial nomination and immigrate to Canada.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has introduced category-based selection to help Canada fill urgent job vacancies in in-demand sectors of the workforce and strengthen the economy. The categories were chosen following discussions with provincial governments, business associations, and other IRCC partners and stakeholders.