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Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has unveiled plans for Express Entry draws targeting candidates in six additional categories, following the existing program-specific draws under the Express Entry system. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced the introduction of category-based selection draws, which are expected to commence in the upcoming summer. These draws aim to invite skilled workers with work experience in high-demand professions to contribute to communities across Canada.

The new targeted draws include candidates with strong French language proficiency, work experience in healthcare, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions, trades professions, transport occupations, and the agriculture and agri-food industry. Eligibility for these occupation-based category draws requires a minimum of six months of consecutive work experience within the eligible industries in the past three years, whether in Canada or abroad. Candidates aspiring to qualify for the French language proficiency category must obtain a minimum score of 7 in all four language abilities on the Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique Canadiens.

The selection of these six categories was based on legislative requirements, involving public consultation with provinces, territories, industry members, unions, employers, workers, worker advocacy groups, settlement provider organizations, and immigration researchers and practitioners. IRCC will report to Parliament annually on the previous year’s chosen categories, the rationale behind their selection, instructions to establish a category, the number of invitations issued for each category, and other relevant details.

Express Entry is Canada’s primary federal immigration pathway designed to attract skilled workers from abroad. It manages applications from three programs: the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). Previously, candidates’ Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores determined their eligibility for an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence (PR) in Canada. However, with the introduction of these new categories, priority will be given to the category-based criteria while general and program-specific draws will continue to take place alongside them.

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