Canada invites candidates in Express Entry draw for STEM occupations

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Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has released invitations to candidates in the second Express Entry draw of the week.

This draw targeted candidates in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) occupations, with 4,500 invitations to apply (ITAs) issued.

To qualify, candidates needed a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 491.

This marks the first draw for candidates in STEM occupations this year. Today’s draw follows a general draw from yesterday, April 10, where IRCC invited 1,280 candidates with a minimum CRS score of 549, the highest minimum CRS score of any draw in 2024.

In the first general draw of the year, on January 10, candidates needed a CRS score of at least 546 to be considered. Subsequently, general draw scores have seen a decline over the past few months. For instance, the last general draw on March 25 invited 1,980 candidates with a CRS score of 524.

General draws encompass candidates from all three Express Entry-managed programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP). Unlike category-based selection draws, where occupation-specific criteria are applied, a high CRS score is the primary determinant of a candidate’s likelihood to receive an ITA

What is category-based selection?

Category-based selection draws were introduced in May 2023 to enhance IRCC’s ability to target Express Entry candidates possessing sought-after skills or human capital attributes.

The department unveiled six categories in 2023, which have been reaffirmed for 2024:

  1. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Occupations
  2. Health Care Occupations
  3. Information Technology Occupations
  4. Trade Occupations
  5. Business and Finance Occupations
  6. Education and Training Occupations

Candidates must already have an application in the Express Entry pool to be considered for category-based selection.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is an application management system for three of Canada’s most prominent economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

Through these programs, applicants are evaluated based on their human capital factors such as their work experience, occupation, language ability, age and education.

Each factor is assigned a score and added together for a final Comprehensive Ranking System score. Those with the highest scores are the most likely to receive an invitation to apply for permanent resident status.

One of the major benefits of Express Entry is, as the name implies, that a candidate’s final applications for PR will be processed more quickly than other economic immigration programs. IRCC has a published service standard of six months for 80% of all Express Entry applications. The remaining 20% may take longer in complex cases.

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