Canada is to start new occupation-based draws this summer targeting 82 occupations in five fields through its flagship Express Entry immigration selection system.

New draws will also target candidates with strong French language ability, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced on May 31. 

Occupations in the following fields will be targeted:

  • healthcare
  • science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions
  • trades, such as carpenters, plumbers and contractors
  • transport
  • agriculture and agri-food

To be eligible, candidates must have accumulated, within the past three years, at least six months of continuous work experience (in Canada or abroad) in one of the individual occupations, a full list of which are available further down this article.

The aim is to make Express Entry, which manages applications for federal immigration streams including the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program and Canadian Experience Class, as well as parts of the Provincial Nominee Program, more responsive to labour market needs.

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The decision to also target francophone candidates is intended to support French-speaking communities across Canada.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said the announced occupations would be targeted this year, meaning that further fields could be added as shortages are identified. 

“Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labour shortages,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser. 

“These changes to the Express Entry system will ensure that they have the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed. 

“We can also grow our economy and help businesses with labour shortages while also increasing the number of French-proficient candidates to help ensure the vitality of French-speaking communities. 

“Put simply, Canada’s immigration system has never been more responsive to the country’s social or economic needs.”

Changes To Immigration, Refugee and Protection Act

Canada first signalled its intention to start occupation-specific draws through Express Entry in June last year, when changes were made to the Immigration, Refugee and Protection Act to allow invitations based on occupations and other attributes, such as language ability.

The majority of Canada’s provinces have been issuing occupation-specific invitations for several years.

Under the changes to the act, the Immigration Minister is required to consult provinces and territories, members of industry, unions, employers, workers, worker advocacy groups, settlement provider organizations, and immigration researchers and practitioners, before announcing new categories.

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IRCC must also report to parliament each year on the categories that were chosen and the reason or the choices.

Employment and Social Development Canada says the number of occupations facing shortages doubled between 2019 and 2021. From 2018 to 2022, Federal High Skilled admissions accounted for between 34 per cent and 40 per cent of overall French-speaking admissions outside Quebec, which manages its own immigration intake.

Occupations To Be Targeted Under New Express Entry Draws

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