Express Entry in Canada: A Look Back at 2023 and Future Prospects

Year End Review

2023 brought significant changes to Canada’s Express Entry application management system. After an 18-month pause, Express Entry draws resumed, following patterns established in 2022. Draws were held for all programs, Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates, and Federal Skilled Workers (FSW) only. Several category-based selection rounds were also introduced. Let’s delve into the key highlights of Express Entry in 2023 and explore what the future holds for this popular immigration pathway.

1. Category-Based Selection Rounds:

In June, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced six new categories for Express Entry draws. These categories targeted candidates with specific attributes, such as healthcare professionals, STEM occupations, trades, transportation, agriculture and agri-food, and strong French proficiency. These changes align with IRCC’s mandates to promote French outside of Quebec and strengthen Canada’s labor force and economy.

2. Draw Types:

Out of the 42 draws in 2023, the majority were all-program draws, considering candidates from the FSW Program, FST Program, and Canadian Experience Class. PNP-only draws and category-based selection draws were also conducted. Notably, no ITAs were issued to FSTP candidates in 2023.

3. CRS Scores:

Express Entry candidates who received ITAs between January and September 2023 had CRS scores ranging from 451-500 and 501-600. Candidates who received a nomination through the PNP had CRS scores between 900 and 1,200. The lowest CRS score for an all-program draw was 481, while the highest was 561. Category-based draws had varying minimum scores, with the lowest being 354 for agriculture and agri-food occupations and the highest being 486 for STEM occupations and French-language proficiency candidates.

4. Frequency of Draws:

Express Entry draws in 2023 initially took place every two weeks, sometimes weekly. With the introduction of category-based selection draws the timing became less predictable. However, since July, there has been a trend towards one week each month with multiple draws. December witnessed the highest volume of draws, while July, September, and October also had a significant number of draws.

According to the Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026, Canada aims to admit 110,000 new permanent residents through Express Entry in 2024. In 2023, IRCC targeted 82,880 candidates for admission, issuing 110,266 ITAs. However, admission to Canada can take up to six months after receiving an ITA. The minister may also change the current categories for category-based selection based on IRCC’s yearly report and stakeholder feedback. Looking ahead to 2024, Canada aims to welcome more newcomers through Express Entry, while ongoing assessments and stakeholder feedback may shape future category selections. Express Entry continues to be a popular and promising pathway for skilled immigrants seeking to build their future in Canada.