Enhancements are Planned for 2023
The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is planning to enhance the Express Entry application management system in 2023. The goal is to better address Canada’s economic needs and labor shortages while ensuring that the country meets its specific labor market demands. Targeted Express Entry draws will continue in 2023, with the IRCC selecting top candidates for Canada’s three major economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class.
Expected Changes in Targeted Express Entry Draws
In 2023, the IRCC will introduce new Express Entry categories that focus on key characteristics such as educational qualifications, work experience, or proficiency in an official language. The department plans to invite Express Entry candidates based on their occupational background, sectors of the economy with labor shortages, whether they have lived in Canada as international students or temporary foreign workers, and their French-language proficiency.
When Will the Targeted Express Entry Draws Begin?
The IRCC has not yet released the results of the public and stakeholder consultations that ended on January 8, 2023, but it is likely that targeted draws will start in spring this year. After the Minister decides on the categories, the IRCC will announce them before issuing invitations.
Potential Categories the IRCC is Exploring
The IRCC is evaluating three potential categories that could be the targets of future Express Entry draws:
• Candidates with work experience in a specific occupation or industry: The IRCC is examining the possibility of creating a category for work experience in specific occupations or sectors with chronic labor shortages. Respondents were asked to identify areas of the labor market experiencing long-term shortages and suggest ways in which immigration can complement Canada’s existing workforce.
• International student graduates transitioning to permanent residence: The IRCC is contemplating a new Express Entry category focused on international student graduates that could address critical shortages more directly. For example, a new Express Entry category could include graduates with a degree or diploma from a Designated Learning Institution in high-demand fields.
• Temporary foreign workers transitioning to permanent residence: The IRCC is also considering a category that would enable more temporary foreign workers to become permanent residents through Express Entry. Stakeholders expressed concern during the consultation that current pathways to permanent residency are not keeping up with the supply of temporary foreign workers capable of meeting Canada’s long-term labor force needs.
• Francophone and bilingual candidates (outside of Quebec): IRCC is exploring the possibility of inviting candidates based on their ability to speak French. This could include French-speaking and bilingual candidates.
The IRCC observes that labor shortages are most severe in construction (trades), administrative and support services, waste management and remediation services, healthcare and social assistance, and other services, except public administration, which is considered a separate industry. Many of these job openings are in occupations that are eligible for Express Entry.