Canada launches category-based selection for express entry; check who is eligible 

PTC News Desk: Canada’s immigration minister Sean Fraser has announced highly anticipated launch of category-based selection for the Express Entry programme, which is a popular point-based pathway for Indians seeking permanent residency (PR) in Canada.

India stands as the leading source country for immigrants through the Express Entry route. In 2020, Indian citizens received 50,841 invitations to apply for permanent residence in Canada, accounting for 47 per cent of the total invites issued by the Canadian immigration agency.

Last year, there were discussions about the introduction of category-specific draws to meet Canada’s labour and economic needs. The  announcement aligns with those expectations, particularly benefiting individuals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations. This development could make it easier for Indian tech workers to establish themselves in Canada. Additionally, Canada may attract more blue-collar workers such as electricians, plumbers, and truck drivers.

For 2023, category-based selection invitations will prioritise candidates with strong French language proficiency or work experience in the following fields: healthcare occupations (including general practitioners, licensed nurses, dentists), STEM occupations (including data scientists, data analysts, computer engineers, civil engineers), trade occupations (including carpenters, plumbers, electricians), transport occupations (including pilots, aero engineers, truck drivers), and agriculture and agri-food occupations.

While India remains the primary source country for Express Entry immigrants, the announcement brings mixed prospects for aspiring Indian candidates. Canada’s immigration levels plan set the target for 465,000 permanent residents in 2023. However, there are concerns that these targeted draws may not be in addition to the existing targets, but instead take away spots from general draws, potentially leading to higher score cutoffs for general selection.

Ken Nickel-Lane, founder of an immigration services firm, was reported as saying “if the category-specific draws become a significant portion of Express Entry draws moving forward, it will become even more challenging for candidates who do not fit within those specific categories.”

The categories selected by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are the result of extensive consultations with provincial and territorial partners, stakeholders, the public, and a review of labor market needs. Additional details regarding the timing of invitations for individual categories and application procedures will be announced in the coming weeks.

Fraser emphasised that employers across Canada have voiced concerns about chronic labor shortages, and these changes to the Express Entry system aim to address those needs by ensuring the availability of skilled workers. The modifications will not only support economic growth and businesses facing labor shortages but also increase the number of French-proficient candidates to contribute to the vitality of French-speaking communities.

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