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A Review of Express Entry in 2023: Key Changes and New Categories

A Review of Express Entry in 2023
Photograph : Shutterstock

2023 has brought significant changes to Canada’s Express Entry application management system. For those aspiring to be a part of Canada’s diverse workforce and community, getting familiar with these changes and new categories is essential. In this article, we will provide a year in review of the updates experienced in the Express Entry system during 2023.

The First Half of 2023:

During the half of a review of Express Entry in 2023 continued to follow patterns that were established in 2022 after a pause of 18 months. The draws conducted were either, for all programs for Provincial Nominee Program or in one case for Federal Skilled Workers.

These draws usually took place every two weeks. Sometimes occurred frequently. It is worth mentioning that Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) extended invitations to, then 21,000 Express Entry candidates in March 2023 through four draws. This marked the second-highest number of a review of Express Entry in 2023 candidates ever invited in a month.

Introducing New Categories:

In May, IRCC introduced six new categories for Express Entry draws. This was expected following a change to the Immigrant and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) in June 2022 that grants the immigration minister the authority to issue ITAs to candidates who possess specific attributes rather than an overall high CRS score.

The new categories target candidates who have attributes that help IRCC meet its mandates to promote French outside of Quebec and use immigration to strengthen Canada’s labor force and economy. The categories now include:

  1. Healthcare
  2. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions
  3. Trades such as carpenters, plumbers, and contractors
  4. Transport
  5. Agriculture and agri-food
  6. Strong French proficiency

These categories have proven successful in achieving their goals, evident in the first category-based draw that took place on June 28 and invited 500 healthcare professionals to apply. Since then, IRCC has invited more than 16,000 Express Entry candidates through category-based selection.

Types of Draws:

Of the 42 draws in 2023, the majority were all-program draws that considered candidates from the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program and Canadian Experience Class. However, IRCC did not issue any ITAs to FSTP candidates in 2023.

In total, 19 Express Entry draws were all-program, five were PNP-only, one was FSWP-only, and the remaining 17 were category-based selection draws.

CRS Scores

According to data released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) the majority of invitations to apply (ITA) for Express Entry candidates, from January to September 2023 were given to individuals with Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores ranging from 451 500. This accounted for a total of 26,070 ITAs. Additionally, there were 11,640 ITAs issued to candidates, with CRS scores between 501 600. Moreover 12,590 ITAs were granted to individuals scoring between 900 and 1,200 likely representing Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates who received nominations.

In terms of draw type, the lowest CRS for an all-program draw was recorded on March 29 at 481 points, wherein 7,000 candidates received ITAs. Meanwhile, the highest CRS for an all-program draw reached 561 points on December 6, granting ITAs to 4,750 candidates. Within Provincial Nominee Program-only draws, the highest and lowest CRS scores were found to be 791 (February 15) and 691 (May 10), inviting 699 and 589 PNP candidates respectively.

There was one draw for Federal Skilled Workers with a minimum CRS score of 489 on February 2 which invited 3,300 candidates. In category-based selection rounds of invitations, the lowest score of 354 occurred during a draw for agriculture and agri-food occupations on September 28 with the issuance of ITAs for around 600 candidates.

The highest score this year within category-based selections was recorded twice; first on July 5 when STEM occupation candidates with a minimum CRS score of 486 received ITAs and again on October 25 when French-language proficiency candidates also received invitations with the same minimum score required.

Frequency of draws

Between January and June, Express Entry draws were regularly conducted every two weeks or even weekly at times. The rhythm changed as category-based selection draws were introduced causing some unpredictability in the schedule. Since July though, there emerged a pattern of three or four separate Express Entry draws taking place within a week each month.

December witnessed the highest volume of draws with seven taking place between December 6-21. The following highest volume months were in September and July, hosting five draws each, and October with four draws—three of which occurred within one week.

Draws were suspended between October 26 and December 6. While IRRC has not provided an official explanation for this pause, possibilities include an ongoing IT glitch, staffing challenges, or the achievement of Express Entry targets outlined in the Immigration Levels Plan for the year.

Summary of Express Entry Draws Since June 2023

Date Draw Type Number of ITAs Minimum CRS
Dec 19    Trade occupations 1,000 425
Dec 18    All-program 1,325 542
Dec 8     STEM occupations 5,900 481
Dec 7     French language proficiency 1,000 470
Dec 6     All-program 4,750 561
Oct 26    Healthcare occupations 3,600 431
Oct 25    French language proficiency 300 486
Oct 24 PNP-only 1,548 776
Oct 10    All-program 3,725 500
Sept 28   Agriculture and agri-food occupations 600 354
July 7 French language proficiency 2,300 439
June 27 All-program 4,300 486

Canada has plans to welcome a total of 110,000 residents through the Express Entry system in 2024. This is an increase, from the target of 82,880 in the year 2023. In 2023 a total of 110,266 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) were issued.

It’s important to note that receiving an ITA doesn’t guarantee admission within the year. Processing times for applications can take, up to six months. As a result a significant number of ITAs issued in 2023 may contribute to admission numbers for 2024.

The current categories of Express Entry draws may undergo revisions based on annual reports to Parliament and feedback received from IRCC stakeholders. They will evaluate the integration of candidates into local economies and the labor market. If existing categories fail to support Canada’s economy, new categories may be introduced.

If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with us using our contact form or via email, we will try our best to reply promptly with an answer to your query.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, exclusively written and published by IntraSource. The published information is sourced from various trusted platforms, such as news agencies and online media, mainly the Government of Canada and Canadian online media/websites, and should not be considered as legal or professional advice. IRCC’s requirements may change, so consult a lawyer/s and receive professional advice before making decisions or applications.

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