An internal memo from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) revealed a while ago that the department was considering introducing targeted Express Entry draws to select candidates best suited to meet Canada's labour market needs. The IRCC has now confirmed that these Express Entry draws will start in early 2023.
According to IRCC, the Department plans to consult with a wide range of stakeholders to inform new Express Entry categories, as required by legislation, and is preparing for technical implementation in the first quarter of 2023.
The types of candidates who will be targeted in these new Express Entry draws are unknown. However, Canada's immigration minister will be given new authority to invite candidates based on criteria such as occupation, language ability, or educational background. This can be combined with a candidate's Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada had a nursing shortage. Pandemic pressures have only exacerbated the situation. Canadians are unable to obtain surgeries or specialised treatments, ERs are closing across the country, and the main reason is a shortage of nurses.
In any of the last three years for which data is available, registered nurses have not been among the top 15 occupations invited through Express Entry. Canada could choose to invite nurses from the Express Entry pool using the new targeted Express Entry draw system, which targets candidates with experience in National Occupational Classification (NOC) Code 3012 (Registered Nurses).
It should be noted that this is only one hypothetical example of how the new targeted Express Entry draws could target specific occupations. Other in-demand occupations could be targeted by these draws. Construction, manufacturing, retail trade, healthcare and social assistance, and accommodation and food services are the five primary sectors driving Canada's total job vacancies, according to Statistics Canada.
Targeting candidates based on their educational backgrounds provides a similar opportunity as targeting candidates based on their occupation. In this case, the Canadian government may choose to prioritise candidates who have completed specific types of educational credentials.
As COVID-19 travel restrictions relax, air travel in Canada and around the world is increasing. This has resulted in a shortage of aircraft mechanics in Canada (NOC 7315). These are the people who maintain and repair aircraft, which is a necessary job to keep air travel running smoothly.
These positions can be difficult to fill because aircraft mechanics are a skilled trade that requires a licence to practise in Canada. Workers in Canada must go through an official licencing process that includes a mandatory educational component in order to become a licensed aircraft mechanic. To address the shortage of aircraft mechanics, IRCC may target Express Entry candidates who have obtained their licence to practise as an aircraft mechanic in Canada, which includes the necessary education component.
Again, this is one method by which targeted Express Entry draws could target a variety of educational credentials in various occupations and industries.
High language test scores are already a critical component of a competitive Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score for any candidate in the Express Entry pool. Targeting candidates based on language abilities, on the other hand, would allow Canada to address a major challenge in its immigration strategy: attracting French-speaking immigrants to regions outside of Quebec.
The government of Canada officially adopts a "target of 4.4 percent of immigrants outside Quebec being French-speaking by 2023" in its Francophone Immigration Strategy. In 2019, French-speaking immigrants accounted for only 2.8 percent of all immigrants admitted to Canada outside of Quebec.
In 2020, approximately 7,000 French-speaking Express Entry candidates were invited, accounting for 7% of total invitations. While this is higher than Canada's target of 4.4 percent of immigrants outside Quebec being French-speaking by 2023, Express Entry accounts for only about one-quarter of total immigrant admissions in Canada. It is possible that Canada's immigration department will use targeted Express Entry draws to meet the government's goal of increasing the number of French-speaking citizens. This could be easily achieved by inviting Express Entry candidates who have submitted official French language test results with a certain score.
With these changes to the Canadian Express Entry Program on the horizon, now is unquestionably an excellent time to begin your Express Entry Application, if you haven't already. To find out if you qualify for this programme, contact a licensed professional Immigration Consultancy.