November 7, 2023

IRCC sets Category-Based Express Entry Invitation Targets.

The landscape of immigration to Canada is evolving, and the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has introduced new Express Entry category-based selection targets for the year 2023. This strategic approach aims to meet specific economic goals through a well-defined set of categories. In this blog, we delve into the details of these targets, shedding light on the emphasis on STEM professions, French language proficiency, healthcare, trades, transportation, and agriculture.


Understanding the Shift: Category-Based Express Entry Draws

IRCC's Express Entry system has always been a pathway for skilled workers to become permanent residents of Canada. However, with the introduction of category-based draws, the process has become even more tailored and purpose-driven. The goal is to identify candidates who possess specific attributes that align with Canada's economic needs. This approach ensures that the country benefits not only from skilled individuals but also from those who can contribute to key sectors.


The Emphasis on STEM Professions

One of the standout features of the 2023 Express Entry targets is the increased focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) professions. Recent data from IRCC reveals that between 28% and 31% of invitations issued through Express Entry are expected to be extended to individuals with significant experience in STEM jobs. This move resonates with Canada's drive to foster innovation and technological advancement.


Language Proficiency and Sectoral Targets

Express Entry draws will also prioritize candidates with strong French language proficiency. This aligns with Canada's bilingual identity and opens doors to individuals who can contribute effectively in both official languages. Additionally, the category-based draws extend to various sectors, including healthcare, trades, transportation, and agriculture.

  • Healthcare: With a target range of nine to twelve percent, IRCC recognizes the vital role healthcare professionals play in the country's well-being.
  • Trades: Trades occupations, encompassing roles such as carpenters, plumbers, and contractors, are allocated a three to four percent target range.
  • Transportation: The transportation sector, which includes positions vital for logistical operations, aims for a one to two percent target range.
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food: Recognizing the significance of agriculture in Canada's economy, this sector is also allocated a one to two percent target range.


The Mechanism: How Express Entry Works

For those new to the Express Entry system, it's essential to understand its mechanism. Express Entry manages three main programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). Applicants submit profiles that are then ranked through the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which considers factors like age, education, language skills, and work experience. The highest-scoring candidates are invited to apply for permanent residence.

Express Entry draws come in three types:

  • General Rounds of Invitation: Candidates with the highest CRS scores are invited to apply for permanent residence.
  • Program-Specific Rounds of Invitation: Candidates eligible for specific Express Entry programs are invited based on their CRS scores.
  • Category-Based Rounds of Invitation: This new approach invites candidates with the highest CRS scores who fit specific categories set by IRCC to meet economic goals.



Canada's evolving immigration strategy underscores the country's commitment to harnessing the skills and talents of individuals who can contribute to its growth and development. The introduction of category-based Express Entry draws reflects a targeted approach that not only meets economic objectives but also fosters a diverse and dynamic population.


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