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IRCC Establishes Goals for Express Entry Invitations by Category

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The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has revealed its Express Entry category-based selection targets for 2023, as highlighted in a new report by the Globe and Mail.

In late June, IRCC initiated category-based draws within the Express Entry system. These draws strategically focused on six distinct categories to fulfill specific economic objectives.

The Globe and Mail article reports that, according to data obtained from IRCC, there will be a significant emphasis on recruiting professionals in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. This year, the projection indicates that individuals with recent experience in specific STEM occupations, such as software developers and data scientists, will receive between 28% and 31% of Express Entry invitations.

Presently, IRCC conducted a solitary round of STEM-specific invitations, extending invitations to 500 applicants.

Comparatively, the target set for STEM professions far exceeds that of the other occupation categories. IRCC has set the target range for candidates showcasing proficiency in French at 11% to 15%. Meanwhile, IRCC has established the target for select healthcare occupations at 9% to 12%, with trades set at 3% to 4% and transportation and agriculture occupations targeted at 1% to 2%.

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Understanding Category-Based Selection in Express Entry

Recently, IRCC initiated selection draws based on categories for Express Entry candidates, with a focus on those with solid French proficiency or experience in key sectors:

  • Healthcare
  • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields
  • Trades (e.g., carpenters, plumbers, contractors)
  • Transport
  • Agriculture and agri-food

These categories were selected following a public consultation that gathered 289 responses from stakeholders nationwide, labor market forecasts, and input from IRCC partners, provinces, and territories.

Since the category-based draws’ inception, three French proficiency draws have welcomed 6,900 applicants to apply for permanent residence. Additionally, two healthcare occupation draws and one trades occupation draw have invited 2,000 and 1,500 applicants, respectively.

Understanding the Express Entry System

Express Entry is IRCC’s platform that manages applications from skilled workers aspiring to attain Canadian permanent residency. It encompasses three key programs:


Upon profile submission through Express Entry, candidates undergo ranking via the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). This point-based framework assesses age, education, language prowess, and work experience. The Canadian government extends Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residence to candidates with the highest CRS scores, chosen from the Express Entry pool.

Express Entry encompasses three types of draws:

  • General Rounds of Invitation: IRCC invites those with top CRS scores to apply for permanent residency.
  • Program-Specific Rounds of Invitation: IRCC invites high CRS scorers eligible for specific Express Entry programs.
  • Category-Based Rounds of Invitation: IRCC invites high CRS scorers eligible for designated categories aligned with IRCC’s economic goals promotion.


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