Category-based Express Entry Draws:

A Year in review : Category-based Express Entry draws:

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held its first-ever category-based draw on June 28, 2023.

This new draw type was launched in May of last year as a means for Canada’s immigration agency to attract qualified entrants based on specific national labour shortages and demographic challenges.

In other words, IRCC decided to create this new form of Express Entry lottery so that Canada could recruit foreign people with specified in-demand work experience and skills.

Note: Despite an emphasis on applicants with specific in-demand characteristics, Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores continue to be used in category draws.

Specifically, in 2024, IRCC has decided to favor individuals with the following professional experience and language skills through category-based draws:

  • Healthcare occupations
  • Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) occupations
  • Trades occupations
  • Transport occupations
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food occupations
  • French-language proficiency

Draw types, Frequencies, and CRS scores.

Since the initial category-based draw over a year ago, IRCC has held 25 such draws.

When divided by category, statistics show that CRS cut-off scores differed significantly.

Note: Cut-off scores represent the lowest qualifying Express Entry profile score among all candidates who received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) during a specific Express Entry draw. These scores are significant because candidates who do not have a CRS score higher than the predetermined cut-off will be ineligible for an ITA during that particular draw.

Total ITAs issued:

While IRCC designated all six of these categories as priorities for this new draw type, the amount of ITAs awarded to candidates in each category varied substantially over the previous year.

French-language proficiency: 21,100 ITAs

Healthcare: 9,100 ITAs

STEM: 10,900 ITAs

Trades: 2,500 ITAs

Transport: 2,645 ITAs

Agriculture and Agri-Food: 1,150 ITAs

What lies ahead for the rest of 2024?

CIC News reported in April that IRCC had already laid out its general strategy for distributing ITA across these six categories in 2024.

To summarize, IRCC has stated that each category will earn a certain percentage of ITAs this year.

Transport: 3%

Healthcare: 15%

STEM: 25%

Trades: 5%

Agriculture and Agri-Food: 0.5%

French-language proficiency: 30%
Important: The IRCC further stated that 78.5% of all Express Entry ITAs will be awarded to category-based draw candidates, with the other 21.5% issued in general draws throughout the year.