Express Entry: Canada Holds First STEM Category-Based Draw

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This week continued Canada’s move towards category-based Express Entry draws.

Today marks the first round of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) category-based Express Entry draws—issuing 500 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to individuals with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) of 486 working in STEM professions like Software Developers, Programmers, and Mathematicians (among others)—a move announced last week.

Category-based draws mark a significant milestone in Canada’s immigration measures, and a change from regular CRS-based draws. Through category-based selection, Canada is actively welcoming skilled professionals into the country, aligning with its pledge to embrace in-demand workers and meet labour market needs through immigration measures.

This step builds upon the recently launched Tech Talent Attraction Strategy, reinforcing Canada’s position as an attractive international destination for top talent in the tech industry.

With the new category-based selection system, Canada is poised to fill critical labour gaps, particularly in targeted sectors, and harness the expertise of skilled professionals from around the world.

Additionally, IRCC has continued program related draws, holding an all-program Express Entry draw yesterday, (issuing 700 ITAs to candidates with a CRS score of at least 511) for the second consecutive week. On June 27th the immigration department held another all-program Express Entry draw, issuing 4,300 ITAs to candidates with a minimum CRS score of 486.

About Express Entry

Express Entry is a system of economic immigration programs that encompass the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). Since its introduction in 2015 the Express Entry programs have been one of Canada’s main pathways for economic immigration, usually issuing ITAs for Permanent Residency to candidates in the federal pool based on their CRS score.

In a bid to address worker shortages in key sectors and bolster immigration efforts, the Canadian government has introduced changes to the Express Entry system. These changes, unveiled by Minister Fraser in March of 2023, aim to target specific labour needs and/or enhance Francophone immigration by inviting candidates in the Express Entry pool who meet targeted categories through their specialised work experience and/or language skills.

Targeted categories include:

  • Healthcare workers;
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) professionals;
  • Trades, such as Carpenters, Plumbers and Contractors;
  • Transportation workers;
  • Agriculture and Agri-food workers; and
  • Candidates with strong French language proficiency.

Importantly as Express Entry continues throughout 2023, targeted draws will not replace other Express Entry draws. The rest of the year should continue to see targeted draws alongside:

  • All-program (CEC, FSWP, FSTP) draws;
  • Specific program draws; and
  • Enhanced Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draws.
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