Canada is a popular destination for immigrants who seek a better quality of life, a welcoming society and a fair and transparent immigration process. The Express Entry system is one of the main pathways to secure permanent residency in Canada, and it has been evolving to meet the changing needs and goals of the country.
Let’s look at how Express Entry works, what are the recent trends and developments in the system, and what are the opportunities and benefits for aspiring immigrants.
What is Express Entry?
Express Entry is an online system that manages applications for three federal economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). Candidates who are eligible for these programs create an online profile and enter a pool of candidates, where they are ranked based on a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) that assigns points for factors such as language proficiency, education, work experience and age. The highest-ranking candidates are invited to apply for permanent residency through regular draws that are held by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
What are the types of draws?
There are two types of draws that IRCC conducts: all-program draws and program-specific draws. All-program draws consider candidates from all three programs, while program-specific draws target candidates from one or more specific programs or categories within Express Entry. Program-specific draws are used to address specific labor market needs or priorities that may vary over time.
How has Express Entry changed in 2023?
The Express Entry system has seen some changes and fluctuations in 2023, reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the passing of Bill C-19, and the immigration goals of Canada. Here are some of the notable trends and developments in the system:
- In January, IRCC resumed the pre-pandemic pattern of holding one all-program draw every two weeks, inviting candidates with high CRS scores.
- In February, IRCC conducted four program-specific draws, including the first-ever draw for FSWP candidates, inviting candidates with lower CRS scores.
- In March, IRCC held three draws, one for each program, inviting over 21,000 candidates in total, which was the second-highest number in Express Entry history.
- In April, IRCC returned to the pre-pandemic pattern of one all-program draw every two weeks, bringing back some predictability to the system.
However, IRCC also has the flexibility and discretion to adjust the frequency, type, number and cut-off score of draws according to the changing priorities and goals of Canada’s labor market and economy. For example, IRCC can invite candidates who have specific attributes or occupations that are in demand in Canada, regardless of their CRS score.
What are the benefits and opportunities for immigrants?
Canada offers many benefits and opportunities for immigrants who want to become permanent residents through Express Entry. Some of these include:
- A fair and transparent selection process that evaluates candidates based on their skills and qualifications that are most relevant to Canada’s labor market.
- A fast and efficient processing time that takes an average of six months or less from receiving an invitation to apply to obtaining permanent residency.
- A diverse and inclusive society that welcomes newcomers from all backgrounds and cultures, and provides them with access to high-quality healthcare, education, social services and human rights.
- A promising future that is shaped by immigrants who contribute to Canada’s growth and prosperity through their talents, innovation and hard work.