IRCC holds first-ever Express Entry STEM draw

IRCC holds first-ever Express Entry STEM draw

The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have recently announced the release of another set of Express Entry invitations this week. This particular round of invitations was specifically targeted towards candidates who meet the eligibility criteria for category-based selection in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations.

A total of 500 exceptional candidates were extended invitations to apply for permanent residency in Canada. To qualify for consideration, these candidates were required to possess a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 486, reflecting their strong potential to contribute to the Canadian economy and society.

This selective round of invitations demonstrates Canada's commitment to attracting highly skilled individuals with expertise in STEM fields. By specifically targeting candidates in these industries, IRCC aims to address the growing demand for professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as fostering innovation and economic growth within the country.

The release of these invitations is a testament to the importance Canada places on attracting talented individuals who can actively contribute to the nation's technological advancement and overall development.

The anticipated occurrence of this draw was foreseen after last week's announcement by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) regarding the inaugural Express Entry draw based on categories for professionals in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, scheduled for this week.

Moreover, the IRCC has verified that an additional round of invitations will be issued this week, inviting 1,500 healthcare workers to apply for permanent residence.

The most recent category-based draw occurred on June 28, where 500 healthcare workers with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 476 received invitations. This CRS score represents the lowest in any Express Entry draw thus far in 2023.

In a surprising move on July 4, the IRCC conducted an all-program draw and extended invitations to 700 candidates with a minimum CRS score of 511. An all-program draw encompasses Express Entry candidates from the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

STEM occupations for category-based selection

Category-based selection for STEM occupations aims to prioritize the invitation of skilled newcomers with STEM expertise, as stated in a recent press release by the IRCC. Canada's objective is to meet the escalating demand for talent and fulfill crucial positions that contribute to the nation's economic growth and technological advancement.

The eligible occupations under the STEM draw include:

  • Architects
  • Architecture and science managers
  • Business systems specialists
  • Civil Engineers
  • Computer and information systems managers
  • Computer engineers (excluding software engineers and designers)
  • Computer systems developers and programmers
  • Cybersecurity specialists
  • Data scientists
  • Database analysts and data administrators
  • Electrical and electronics engineers
  • Engineering managers
  • Industrial and manufacturing engineers
  • Information systems specialists
  • Land surveyors
  • Landscape Architects
  • Mathematicians, statisticians, and actuaries
  • Metallurgical and materials engineers
  • Natural and applied science policy researchers, consultants, and program officers
  • Software developers and programmers
  • Software engineers and designers
  • Urban and land use planners
  • Web designers
  • Web developers and programmers

On May 31, Sean Fraser, Canada's Minister of Immigration, unveiled the finalized category-based selection criteria for Express Entry draws. The selection categories were determined based on labor market projections, consultations with IRCC partners and stakeholders, as well as discussions with provincial and territorial governments. The categories are as follows:

  • Healthcare
  • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions
  • Trades, including carpenters, plumbers, and contractors
  • Transport
  • Agriculture and agri-food
  • Strong French-language proficiency

The introduction of category-based selection draws was anticipated since June 2022 when amendments were made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by the Government of Canada. These changes enable the selection of immigrants based on key attributes that align with Canada's economic priorities, such as specific work experience to address labor market gaps or proficiency in French.

FAQ about the new category-based draws

Am I eligible if I have work experience in STEM but I am not an Express Entry candidate?

No, eligibility for category-based selection draws requires candidates to be part of the Express Entry application pool through an Express Entry managed program, such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, or the Canadian Experience Class.

Does my CRS score still hold significance?

IRCC states that category-based rounds of invitations will prioritize ranking candidates in the Express Entry pool who meet the category requirements and subsequently invite the highest-ranking candidates to apply for permanent residence. Similar to regular draws, eligible candidates will be assessed and ranked based on their CRS score. Those with higher scores remain more likely to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

Furthermore, IRCC will continue to conduct regular draws, including all-program or program-specific draws, where a high CRS score remains necessary to be considered.

How frequently will category-based selection draws take place?

IRCC does not have a predetermined schedule for Express Entry draws or a set target for the number of candidates invited through any program or category. Draws are subject to the discretion of the Immigration Minister and are based on the minister's mandate to support Canada's economic priorities and promote the French language. In other words, draws can occur at any time and for any category.

Do the criteria differ for each new category?

To be eligible for any of the five occupation-specific categories, all candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a minimum of 6 months of continuous work experience (either in Canada or abroad) within the past 3 years in a single occupation listed as eligible.
  • Fulfill all the requirements specified in the instructions for that particular round.

For candidates invited based on strong French language proficiency, they must possess French-language test results indicating a minimum score of 7 in all four language abilities (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) on the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens. Additionally, they must meet all the requirements outlined in the instructions for that specific round.



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