When will targeted Express Entry draws start?

Express Entry

Canada’s Express Entry system will change in 2023, after a bill was passed to allow the government to invite candidates based on an economic priority.

On December 6, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) told Moving2Canada in an email that targeted Express Entry draws are expected to start in the spring of 2023.

“Express Entry’s new category-based selection authorities, expected to be launched in spring 2023, will build on the success of Express Entry by increasing the flexibility to respond to evolving economic needs and Government priorities, selecting those with the skills and talent needed to support long term growth and prosperity,” IRCC wrote.

“Categories have not yet been established, and will change over time, and will be informed by engagement with our provincial and territorial partners and through stakeholder consultations.”

Although specific categories have not been created, IRCC suggests that draws will be based on attributes such as language knowledge, education, or work experience in an occupation.
Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said multiple times that draws will also be targeted by region. On November 29, Fraser defended his commitment to supporting regional immigration before the Standing Committee on Immigration and Citizenship.

“You will probably notice that there is a significant increase in the regionalization of immigration numbers,” Fraser said, listing measures like the Atlantic Immigration Program, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, and; “new flexibilities in the Express Entry system that allow us to do targeted draws not just by region, but also by the sector in which those regions have the highest labour market needs.”

IRCC told Moving2Canada that interested parties will be able to add input in upcoming consultations that will be available on the IRCC website. The spokesperson did not provide further details on when consultations would occur, nor how that input would be collected.

Why is Express Entry changing?

In June 2022, Canada passed Bill C-19, an omnibus bill that included the introduction of targeted Express Entry draws.

Before, IRCC could only adjust the minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score or hold program-specific draws. For example, throughout 2021, IRCC only held PNP and Canadian Experience Class (CEC)- specific draws.

Now that C-19 has passed, IRCC can invite candidates based on an economic goal. For example, Canada could hold a draw inviting candidates with proven French ability.

In order to establish the categories, IRCC must undergo a public consultation process with stakeholders including:

  • Provinces and territories
  • Industry
  • Unions
  • Employers
  • Workers
  • Worker advocacy groups
  • Settlement provider organizations
  • Immigration researchers and practitioners

The purpose of the consultations are to get an idea of labour market conditions, such as occupations where there are shortages and other advice on forming categories.

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