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Canada to target occupations in Express Entry draws starting in 2023

December 18, 2022

By CIC News |

Starting in 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will use new authorities to hold Express Entry draws that invite candidates based on specific attributes rather than their overall CRS score.

The expected changes to Express Entry were made possible by Bill C-19 which received Royal Assent, or passed in both houses of parliament, on June 23. Under the Bill, the immigration minister has the authority to invite candidates with any in-demand skills or abilities.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser told CIC News in an interview last June that the changes to Express Entry would help Canada select immigrants who are already primed for economic success.

The minister said although Express Entry already gives Canada a competitive advantage, there is room for improvement.

“Where [the Express Entry system] could be improved is at present if there are particular challenges that your economy is facing, it might be facing in the long term. We don’t have the ability to tailor the invitations to apply to the Express Entry system to meet those in-demand skills or qualifications,” Fraser said.

IRCC says that the Bill will allow Canada to invite Express Entry candidates on a new basis, one that would support an economic goal identified by the minister.

Who will be invited?

There is no confirmation to date on which candidates would receive invitations to apply (ITAs) in targeted draws. The minister said he would be consulting with provinces, business councils and other stakeholders to best evaluate which candidates to target.

The minister’s new authority means that it will now be possible to invite Express Entry candidates based on the most pressing economic needs and urgent labour shortages.

As an example, healthcare is seen as one of the most pressing occupational categories. In October, the job vacancy rate within the sector stood at 6%. The government has been taking measures to fill jobs in the sector, such as removing some barriers for internationally trained physicians who are already in Canada and the more recently announced Foreign Credential Recognition Program. Still, it is plausible that future Express Entry draws may target only candidates with backgrounds in healthcare professions to fill vacant positions at a faster rate.

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