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Major change to Express Entry system – Invitations To Apply based on occupation

Published: Jun 6, 2023

At the end of May IRCC announced that they were going to add an occupation based category to the Express Entry system. It is not clear whether this occupation category is going to be in addition to the existing Federal Skilled Worker program, the Federal Skilled Trade program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Provincial Nominee Program. In the past IRCC has operated Economic Class application categories that have built into them biases in favour of particular occupations. From the wording of the announcements it appears that this occupation category will be a new category, but it could be that in order to take advantage of an occupational preference, an applicant must already qualify under one of the pre-existing programs.

The notice posted by IRCC is quite vague. It does not say exactly when the program will go into place, what rules will surround applications, and how many people will be captured by this new occupation selection program. It may turn out that there are very few prioritized spots handed out to each occupation category.

The plan is currently to give priority to people in these categories:
  1. those with French – language proficiency;
  2. healthcare occupations;
  3. science, technology, engineering and math occupations;
  4. trade occupations;
  5. transport occupations, and;
  6. agriculture and agri-food occupations.

In order to qualify under categories 2 to 6, the applicant must prove that they have the necessary skills required under each occupation category, and that the applicant has accumulated within the last three years at least six months of continuous work experience in Canada or elsewhere, in one of the listed occupations. The applicant must also meet some as yet unreleased other requirements.

We do not know what the system is going to look like or what the rules will be. The announcement at the end of May, though, states that there is expected to be a competition among applicants who fit into each occupation category. The instructions say the Invitations To Apply are going to go to the "top-ranking candidates".

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