How you can expect Express Entry to change in 2023

Express Entry is Canada’s key to bringing foreign skilled workers to this country via permanent residence, but the structure of Express Entry’s bi-weekly draws is about to evolve. Find an overview of these changes below.

Express Entry is simply the name of Canada’s online system used to cumulatively manage skilled worker applications from three different programs — the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

Express Entry is also Canada’s main method for bringing international skilled workers to this country through permanent residence.

How is Express Entry changing?

As the country vies to better address the specific labour shortages and needs of Canada’s economy, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has shared its intention to begin conducting targeted Express Entry draws beginning in 2023.

These Express Entry draws, possible due to the recently passed Bill C-19, will intentionally target candidates based on their occupation, language and/or education to find the Canadian permanent residence (PR) hopefuls that best help Canada grow and thrive.

According to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, the current Express Entry all-program draws do not satisfactorily help Canada bring in foreign nationals who best align with the country’s most in-demand skills and qualifications.

Undecided as of the time of writing on the specific occupational, language, or educational credential categories that it will use to inform the structure of these new draws, IRCC says that it will “consult a wide range of stakeholders to inform new categories in Express Entry” to ultimately decide on the details of the new format.

What does this mean?

For the moment, IRCC will continue conducting Express Entry draws as usual. Once every approximately two weeks, a dynamic number of invitations to apply (ITAs) for Canadian PR will be given out to applicants who applied through any of the three Express Entry programs — the CEC, the FSWP and/or the FSTP — based on their CRS scores.

CRS scores have long been Canada’s key driver for choosing Express Entry candidates. These scores are currently used to rank Canadian immigration hopefuls based on several factors — including, but not limited to age, official language proficiency and Canadian work experience — and ITAs are sent out accordingly.

As early as Q1 2023, however, the Express Entry system will transition away from a focus on CRS scores and conduct draws that allow Canada to welcome immigrants that help the country better focus on addressing specific areas of labour market need and weakness.

The end goal of these targeted draws is to strengthen Canada’s labour market and hopefully “see a potential increase of retention rates [amongst people who settle in specific communities] because people are coming in where they know they have opportunities because that was the basis of their invitation to apply”, according to Minister Fraser.

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