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Canada’s Express Entry system recently underwent a significant change by introducing category-based targeted draws. This system previously selected candidates who had applied for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Trades Program, or Provincial Nominee Programs based solely on their CRS score.

New Category-Based Express Entry Draws establish an additional selection method that chooses candidates with low CRS scores who possess work experience in specific fields or those who are proficient in French. The Canadian Government implemented this system to help address labor shortages in these fields and to help preserve Canada’s French-speaking community.

In this Canada immigration guide, we will cover the key things you should know about category-based Express Entry draws.

Category-Based Express Entry Draws: Overview

The “targeted” or “category-based” Express Entry draws focus on people with experience in any one of 82 occupations selected by IRCC to solve labour shortages in Canada. These are spread across the following five fields:

  • Healthcare Roles
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Professions
  • Trade Professions
  • Transport Professions
  • Agriculture Professions

Category-Based Express Entry Occupation List

Check out all the occupations eligible under the category-based Express Entry in 2023 in the comprehensive list:

CategoryOccupation TitleNOC TEER Code
Healthcare OccupationsAudiologists and speech language pathologists31112
Dieticians and nutritionists31121
Education counsellors41320
General practitioners and family physicians31102
Instructors of persons with disabilities42203
Kinesiologists and other professional occupation in therapy and assessment31204
Licensed practical nurses32101
Massage therapists32201
Medical laboratory assistants and related technical occupations33101
Medical laboratory technologists32120
Medical radiation technologists32121
Medical sonographers32122
Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates33102
Nurse practitioners31302
Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors31300
Occupational therapists31203
Other assisting occupations in support of health services33109
Other practitioners of natural healing32209
Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating31209
Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment32109
Paramedical occupations32102
Pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy assistants33103
Physician assistants, midwives and allied health professionals31303
Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses31301
Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists32103
Specialists in clinical and laboratory medicine31100
Specialists in surgery31101
Therapists in counselling and related specialized therapies41301
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists32200
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) occupationsArchitects21200
Architecture and science managers20011
Business systems specialists21221
Civil Engineers21300
Computer and information systems managers20012
Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers)21311
Computer systems developers and programmers21230
Cybersecurity specialists21220
Data scientists21211
Database analysts and data administrators21223
Electrical and electronics engineers21310
Engineering managers20010
Industrial and manufacturing engineers21321
Information systems specialists21222
Land surveyors21203
Landscape Architects21201
Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries21210
Metallurgical and materials engineers21322
Natural and applied science policy researchers, consultants and program officers41400
Software developers and programmers21232
Software engineers and designers21231
Urban and land use planners21202
Web designers21233
Web developers and programmers21234
Skilled Trade OccupationsResidential and commercial installers and servicers73200
Elevator constructors and mechanics72406
Machine fitters72405
Heating, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics72402
Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics72400
Electricians (except industrial and power system)72200
Welders and related machine operators72106
Contractors and supervisors, other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers72014
Transport OccupationsAircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors93200
Transport truck drivers73300
Railway traffic controllers and marine traffic regulators72604
Engineer officers, water transport72603
Deck officers, water transport72602
Air traffic controllers and related occupations72601
Air pilots, flight engineers and flying instructors72600
Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors72404
Railway carmen/women72403
Managers in transportation70020
Agriculture and Agri-Food OccupationsContractors and supervisors, landscaping, grounds maintenance and horticulture services82031
Agricultural service contractors and farm supervisors82030
Butchers- retail and wholesale63201

The Canadian Government introduced the new targeted system to help address labour shortages in each of the aforementioned fields. To qualify, candidates must have a minimum of 6 months of continuous work experience in one of these occupations obtained within the last 3 years.

There is also a special category for people who are proficient in French. Such candidates are eligible if they score 7 or higher in all language abilities in a French-language exam.

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3 Benefits of the Category-Based Express Entry Draws

The new category-based Express Entry draws system has many distinct benefits. This includes:

1. Helping Employers

Canadian employers in many industries are experiencing worker shortages. Much of this is due to the demand for workers exceeding the supply available due to the time it takes such professionals to complete their education and acquire the necessary skills.

Setting up a special Express Entry sub-category for such workers allows them to enter the Canadian labour pool and help fill crucial job openings in the aforementioned fields.

2. Benefitting the Canadian Economy

Bringing in skilled workers in these fields also benefits the Canadian economy. These workers don’t just help address the current Canadian labour shortage; they also enable Canadian businesses to grow and expand, increasing Canada’s national output.

3. Preserving Canada’s French-Speaking Community

Canada’s main French-speaking province, Quebec, has historically faced a decline in French speakers. This is due to the influx of non-Francophone immigrants as well as younger Quebec residents moving to English-speaking provinces.

Adding a special French-speaking category to the targeted draws increases the number of French-speaking individuals in Canada and helps preserve the country’s Francophone community and culture.

How are Category-Based Draws Different?

The primary purpose of these targeted draws is to help address specific labour shortages using the immigration system. This is a significant shift from the earlier Express Entry draw system that didn’t single out workers based on specific occupations but rather based on whether they possessed skilled or semi-skilled work experience.

Lower CRS Score

In the past, all candidates in the Express Entry system were required to meet the minimum CRS cut-off score without any prioritization. The following data represents the difference between the CRS scores among the General Express Entry Draws and Category-Based Express Entry Draws:

DateDraw TypeInvitationsCRS Cut-off Score
July 7, 2023French Language Proficiency2,300439
July 6, 2023Health Occupations1,500463
July 5, 2023STEM Occupations500486
July 4, 2023General (All-Program)700511

It should be noted that occupation-specific immigration categories have existed within the Provincial immigration system for many years. For example, British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program has a Skill Immigration category designed to help various types of workers immigrate to the province based on their work experience.

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Consultation and Reporting Requirements

The recent changes to the Immigration, Refugee, and Protection Act require the immigration minister to communicate with key stakeholders, such as employers, unions, workers, and immigration researchers from each province and territory to understand their needs.

Based on this, each targeted draw will be centered around different categories that update according to the province and territories’ most recent needs. The immigration minister is also required to provide full transparency about the consultation process to ensure the Canadian public is aware of decisions being made in the Express Entry system and how it will impact the country.

Future Expansion and Occupation List

The targeted Express Entry draw 2023 will likely change in the near future based on changes to labour needs. This means there is a good chance that more occupations will be added to it within the year. The current list of occupations can be found in the previously mentioned section.

Prospective immigrants with work experience in other occupations should keep a close eye on the targeted Express Entry draws, as their occupations could be added to the list at some point in the future.

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How Elaar Immigration Can Help?

The targeted Express Entry draws represent a huge shift in the way Canada selects immigration candidates. However, the pre-existing system is still being used, so this change is simply an addition that helps certain candidates.

If you would like to learn more about the targeted Express Entry draws and whether they will help you immigrate to Canada, please contact Elaar Immigration. Our team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants closely monitors developments in Canada’s immigration system and can guide you about immigration to Canada through the program that offers you the highest chance of success.

For a limited time, eligible category-based Express Entry candidates can sign up with us for as low as CAD $999 to benefit from our comprehensive services, which include:

  • Submission of a complete and accurate Express Entry profile and/or PNP Expression of Interest
  • Support with preparing documents in advance in anticipation of receiving an ITA
  • One-on-one ZOOM appointment with an RCIC to discuss your personalized case
  • On-going support from an RCIC throughout the process and even after

Take the next step toward immigrating to Canada with Elaar Immigration’s assistance. Contact us today!

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