Canada’s Express Entry system has unveiled its first-ever invitations for individuals experienced in the trades, marking a significant step towards meeting the country’s rising demand for talent. The new system is designed to foster a swift and efficient pathway for experts in critical fields, contributing to the economic growth and advancement of the nation.
On May 31, 2023, the Honourable Sean Fraser, the then Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, introduced alterations to the Express Entry system through category-based selection. This innovation aimed to counter labour shortages and support identified economic objectives by inviting candidates with precise work experience or French language proficiency to apply for permanent residence.
Following amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in June 2022, the Canadian government adopted a selection process for immigrants based on key attributes that buttress economic priorities, such as specific work experience or fluency in French.
Later on August 1, 2023, the Honourable Marc Miller, the current Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, officially announced the inaugural trades round for category-based selection. The newly-introduced focus on candidates with trades expertise such as carpentry, plumbing, and welding is set to invigorate Canada’s construction sector by attracting the much-needed skilled personnel across the nation.
The category-based selection initiative underscores Canada’s dedication to securing top international talent and fulfilling the demand for tradespeople to bolster the economy. It has been stated that these category-based selection rounds will run concurrently with general invitation rounds throughout the year, and further details are anticipated to be disclosed in the weeks ahead.
Minister Marc Miller expressed the urgency of addressing the dearth of skilled trades workers in Canada, noting that the solution partly lies in assisting the construction sector in finding and retaining the workers it requires. He added that this round of category-based selection acknowledges the vital role of these skilled trades workers, and he anticipates welcoming more such proficient individuals to Canada.
The latest Express Entry draw of 2023, held on August 3, saw the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issue invitations to 1,500 candidates in this novel targeted category for individuals in the trades. The draw stipulated a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 388. During this draw, the trades focused selection featured professions including contractors and supervisors in construction trades, welders and related machine operators, electricians (except industrial and power system), plumbers, carpenters, construction millwrights and industrial mechanics, heating, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics, machine fitters, elevator constructors and mechanics, and residential and commercial installers and servicers.