BREAKING: Canada holds first-ever category-based Express Entry draw for healthcare workers

BREAKING: Canada holds first-ever category-based Express Entry draw for healthcare workers

Under the new Express Entry category-based selection draws, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has extended invitations to 500 healthcare professionals. These individuals were carefully selected based on their qualifications and experience, and were required to have a minimum comprehensive ranking system (CRS) score of 476, reflecting their high potential and suitability for immigration.

This milestone event marks the inaugural category-based selection draw since the announcement of the six new categories on May 31. Demonstrating the government's commitment to attracting skilled workers in key sectors, a second round of invitations will be conducted on July 5, inviting an additional 1,500 workers to apply.

Moreover, in the same week, there are anticipations for another draw targeting eligible candidates specializing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions. This proactive approach by IRCC demonstrates the importance placed on these critical fields and the desire to foster their growth within the Canadian workforce.

Healthcare occupations and category-based selection

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently announced the finalization of new category-based selection for Express Entry on May 31.

Among the six newly established categories, healthcare occupations comprise the largest number of eligible professions, totaling 35:

  • Audiologists and speech language pathologists
  • Chiropractors
  • Dentists
  • Dieticians and nutritionists
  • Education counsellors
  • General practitioners and family physicians
  • Instructors of persons with disabilities
  • Kinesiologists and other professional occupations in therapy and assessment
  • Licensed practical nurses
  • Massage therapists
  • Medical laboratory assistants and related technical occupations
  • Medical laboratory technologists
  • Medical radiation technologists
  • Medical sonographers
  • Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nursing coordinators and supervisors
  • Occupational therapists
  • Optometrists
  • Other assisting occupations in support of health services
  • Other practitioners of natural healing
  • Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating
  • Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment
  • Paramedical occupations
  • Pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy assistants
  • Physician assistants, midwives, and allied health professionals
  • Physiotherapists
  • Psychologists
  • Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
  • Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists, and cardiopulmonary technologists
  • Specialists in clinical and laboratory medicine
  • Specialists in surgery
  • Therapists in counselling and related specialized therapies
  • Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists
  • Veterinarians

Healthcare worker shortage in Canada

Canada's healthcare sector is currently grappling with a significant shortage of workers, largely attributed to the country's low birth rates on a global scale and its aging population. Projections indicate that within the next seven years, approximately nine million Canadians will reach the age of 65 and retire.

As the population ages, the demand for healthcare services will inevitably surge, underscoring the urgent need for immigrants to fill these critical positions and bridge the gap left by the diminishing number of younger Canadians. The gravity of the situation becomes apparent when considering recent data from Statistics Canada, which reveals that as of March 2023, there were 144,500 unfilled positions within the healthcare and social assistance sector, constituting a staggering 17.7% of all vacant positions.

To address this pressing issue, several provinces and territories have already implemented targeted streams within their Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) to attract and retain healthcare professionals. For instance, Alberta introduced the Designated Healthcare Pathway as part of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program, British Columbia consistently extends invitations to healthcare professionals in nearly every BC PNP draw, and Ontario recently invited 318 foreign workers in healthcare occupations.

The introduction of category-based selection draws was expected this year, following the amendments made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in June 2022. These changes grant the immigration minister the authority to select economic immigrants based on specific attributes that align with Canada's economic priorities or contribute to the promotion of French-speaking immigration outside of Quebec.

The selection of categories was informed by extensive consultations with provincial and territorial governments, as well as other stakeholders, providing valuable insights into the areas experiencing the most severe shortages in the labor force.

To qualify for the occupation-specific categories, eligible candidates must possess a minimum of six months of continuous work experience in one of the designated occupations, acquired within the past three years. This experience can be gained within Canada or abroad, allowing for a diverse pool of skilled individuals to contribute to Canada's healthcare sector.



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