Express entry is considered the fastest way for skilled workers to migrate to Canada. Even though the express entry procedure faced a long pause during the Covid-19 outbreak, the program is back on track and is faster than ever before.

The program was restarted last year in July, Express Entry draws occurred every two weeks on Wednesdays and resumed the pre-pandemic established patterns. Draw sizes increased by predictable increments while the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score decreased slightly with each draw.

But the pattern was broken by an unexpected six-week pause due to a technical glitch in the Express Entry System. The first draw of this year was held on January 11 and invited 5,500 candidates. This is a higher number when compared with the 2022 draws. After that, the draw sizes fluctuated, going as low as 589 ITAs in May and as high as 7000 ITAs for three consecutive draws in March.

 The number of ITAs (Invitation to apply) issued so far in 2023 is 58,849, which is already higher than the 35,570 ITAs issued in the last year between July and November. This clearly shows the intention of the Canada government. At the beginning of 2023, IRCC issued 11,000 ITAs over two draws in January. However, February was slow, issuing only 4892 in three draws. March witnessed the second-highest number of candidates invited in a single month in Express Entry history. IRCC issued 21,667 ITAs over four draws. April and May were a little dull, inviting 7000 and 5389 respectively.

Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Scores

The minimum CRS Score is also varying according to different draws this year. The highest CRS score so far in 2023 was 791 for a PNP-only draw on February 15 and the lowest was 476 for the first-ever category-based draw on June 28. Most other draws over the past six months have had a minimum CRS cut-off score between 485 and 490.

How often does the draw happen?

There is no fixed schedule for Express Entry draws. The immigration minister decides to decide when to conduct a draw. Mostly there will be a draw every two weeks. But in 2023, more draws are happening. For instance, there were three draws in February, with the first two occurring back-to-back on February 1 and February 2.

Types of Express Entry draws happening in 2023

The Express Entry draws consider three types of economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Workers Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program. While considering candidates from all the programs, the Canadian government has also conducted four draws for the Provincial Nominee Program

Expected developments this year in Express Entry

On May 31, IRCC announced that in the summer it would begin holding draws for Express Entry Candidates who fall into six new categories. 82 occupations are now eligible for this category-based selection. Have a look at the new categories:

  •  healthcare
  • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions
  • trades, such as carpenters, plumbers, and contractors
  • transport
  • agriculture and agri-food
  • Strong French-speaking abilities

Express Entry Candidates with either required work or language experience in selected occupations under these categories will receive an invitation to apply (ITA). Healthcare occupations dominate the overall occupations eligible for category-based selection. Science, Technology Engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations are the other major occupations that also make up a large share of the category.

On June 28, Canada announced the invitation of 500 health workers through its first occupational-specific Express Entry Program.  The immigration minister conveyed that they would invite more than 1500 workers in the next week. On the same day, IRCC announced that it would hold Express Entry draws for eligible candidates under the STEM category during the week of July 5.

IRCC plans to accomplish the target of the Immigration levels plan 2023-2025 through these programs. Canada plans to strengthen its workforce through the immigration of skilled workers.

Another major program that will create a massive impact on the Express Entry system is the introduction of permits for H-1B visa holders in the US. Canada aims to welcome 10,000 H-1B visa holders in the US to come and work in Canada. This will eventually benefit thousands of Indian tech professionals.

On June 27, IRCC said it would provide work permit holders with more flexibility to study in Canada. This will afford them the ability to earn additional CRS points for studying in Canada as long as they pursue an eligible program.


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