November 11, 2023

Canada Invites 3,000 Candidates in Latest Express Entry Draw

Canada's immigration landscape has witnessed a significant shift with the introduction of category-based Express Entry draws. In a remarkable move, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently invited 3,000 candidates to the Express Entry draw held on September 26, 2023. What sets this draw apart is its focus on agriculture and agri-food occupations, a crucial sector contributing significantly to Canada's economy.


Understanding the Draw: A Paradigm Shift

Traditionally, Express Entry draws were based on Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores, which encompassed various factors such as age, education, work experience, and language proficiency. However, IRCC's decision to conduct category-based draws represents a paradigm shift in Canada's immigration strategy.

Category-based draws prioritize specific attributes or occupations over overall CRS scores. This innovative approach aims to align immigration with the country's economic and labor market needs, as well as its linguistic goals, particularly outside of Quebec.


Agriculture and Agri-Food: A Key Pillar of Canada's Economy

The decision to include agriculture and agri-food as a category in Express Entry draws underscores the sector's strategic importance to Canada. In 2022, Canada's agriculture and agri-food industry achieved remarkable success, exporting nearly $92.8 billion worth of products globally. This sector plays a vital role in the nation's economy, contributing significantly to its GDP and providing employment opportunities across the country.


The Candidates Who Qualify

To receive an invitation in the category-based draw for agriculture and agri-food occupations, candidates were required to meet specific criteria. A minimum CRS score of 504 was set as the threshold. This score takes into account factors like age, education, work experience, language proficiency, and adaptability.


A Boost for the Agriculture and Agri-Food Sector

The draw targeted candidates with experience in various roles within the agriculture and agri-food sector, including agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors, and retail and wholesale butchers. By doing so, Canada aims to address labor shortages and skill gaps in this industry.


The Significance of Category-Based Selection

The introduction of category-based selection was prompted by changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) in 2022. This amendment granted the immigration minister the authority to select Express Entry candidates based on attributes that align with Canada's economic goals and French language promotion efforts.


The Five Occupation-Based Categories

The category-based selection process introduced six new categories, each focusing on in-demand occupations and candidates with strong French-language abilities. These categories are:

  1. Healthcare
  2. STEM Professions
  3. Trades
  4. Transport
  5. Agriculture and Agri-Food

While the healthcare category witnessed the first category-based draw on June 28, 2023, agriculture and agri-food was the last to be introduced. Notably, candidates with strong French-language abilities have received the highest number of category-based invitations, with 6,900 ITAs issued.


Express Entry: A Gateway to Canada

Express Entry serves as the primary application management system for economic immigration candidates in Canada. It covers three main programs:

  1. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  2. Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
  3. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

These programs employ the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to evaluate and rank candidates based on various human capital factors, assigning specific point values to attributes such as work experience, education, age, and language proficiency. The candidates with the highest overall scores receive invitations to apply in upcoming Express Entry draws.


Eligibility and Program-Specific Requirements

It's essential to note that eligibility for Express Entry depends on the specific program. For instance:

  • The FSWP and FSTP programs have different minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) requirements.
  • While the FSTP and FSWP programs require a minimum amount of settlement funds, the CEC program does not have this requirement.


Why Agriculture and Agri-Food?

The decision to include agriculture and agri-food in the category-based Express Entry draws was well-considered. The sector is not only a significant contributor to the Canadian economy but also plays a vital role in ensuring food security and sustainability.

  • Economic Impact: As mentioned earlier, the agriculture and agri-food sector's exports in 2022 amounted to nearly $92.8 billion. This robust performance reflects its substantial contribution to Canada's economic growth.
  • Employment Opportunities: The sector provides jobs to a diverse range of professionals, including farmers, agricultural technicians, food scientists, and retail and wholesale butchers. By inviting skilled candidates in these roles, Canada aims to address labor shortages and enhance the sector's productivity.
  • Global Competitiveness: Canada's reputation for producing high-quality agricultural and food products has positioned it as a global competitor. Attracting skilled professionals in this field further strengthens its position in the international market.


A Landmark Move for Agriculture and Agri-Food Professionals

The inclusion of agriculture and agri-food in category-based Express Entry draws is a landmark development. It not only recognizes the sector's significance but also offers aspiring immigrants a unique opportunity to contribute to Canada's growth and prosperity.


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