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A Look at Canada’s 2020 Express Entry Year-End Report

Published on: December 15th, 2021

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada issued more invitations to apply for permanent residency through the Express Entry system in 2020 than they had in any previous year.

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Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) just released their Express Entry Year-End Report for 2020. According to the report, among the profiles submitted in 2020, 74% were eligible for one of the federal Express Entry programs, continuing an upward trend from previous years.

Top 10 most common occupations

Information technology, and business and financial services have remained among the top primary occupations selected in the Express Entry pool. These occupations are in-demand across Canada. For this reason, many provinces host nominee programs for candidates with experience in these roles.

Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities stream invites Express Entry candidates with experience in certain tech occupations and other occupations in-demand, including business and financial services roles.

British Columbia hosts a nominee program for candidates with a job offer in one of 29 tech occupations.

Nova Scotia has also invited candidates directly from the Express Entry pool with experience in certain finance and tech roles.

Significant growth was also seen in occupations such as food service supervisor and administrative assistance.

Top 10 most common occupations invited in 2020:

  1. 2173 Software engineers and designers
  2. 2171 Information systems analysts and consultants
  3. 2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers
  4. 6311 Food service supervisors
  5. 1241 Administrative assistants
  6. 1111 Financial auditors and accountants
  7. 1221 Administrative officers
  8. 1123 Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations
  9. 1311 Accounting technicians and bookkeepers
  10. 6211 Retail sales supervisors

Average processing time

During the height of the pandemic, processing times were significantly delayed. As a result, IRCC did not meet the standard of finalizing 80% of Express Entry applications within 6 months.

Instead, the overall average processing time increased to 9 months, with increases mainly seen for Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) and Federal Skilled Trades (FST) applications.

The below chart refers to the time in which 80% of each application type was finalized by IRCC over the last three years.

Average processing time by program (in months)

Immigration Category201820192020
Canadian Experience Class (EE)578
Federal Skilled Workers (EE)6912
Provincial/Territorial Nominees (EE)6911
Skilled Trades (EE)71216

Higher chances for French-speakers

In October 2020, the Canadian government announced that French-speaking candidates would secure additional points in the Express Entry pool. The number of points claimed for candidates with strong French language proficiency increased from 15 to 25, and from 30 to 50 for bilingual candidates.

This gave French-speaking individuals a higher chance of being invited to apply for permanent residency and helped to support Canada’s goal of increasing French immigration outside of Quebec.

The total number of French-speaking candidates invited to apply increased from 5,518 in 2019 to 7,105 in 2020.

Certain provinces also host nominee programs to recruit French speakers. Ontario and Nova Scotia have both invited French-speaking candidates from the Express Entry pool. Saskatchewan has also recently increased the number of points given to individuals that speak both French and English.

Ontario was the top destination in 2020

Ontario was once again deemed the top province of destination for newcomers. About 63% of invited Express Entry candidates indicated Ontario as their province of destination. British Columbia was the second choice, selected by just 21.1% of newcomers.

Ontario has recently requested the federal government increase the number of immigrants allowed into the province even further. Ontario Labour Minister, Monte McNaughton, requested to double the number of immigrants from 9,000 to 18,000 a year in order to help tackle a significant labour shortage.

The province of Ontario currently hosts multiple Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Many of Ontario’s PNPs send invitations to apply for nomination directly to candidates in the Express Entry pool.

IRCC Year-End Report 2020

Express Entry candidates with arranged employment

The percentage of Express Entry candidates with arranged employment indicated on their profile in 2020 increased slightly from the previous year.

Of the 107,350 candidates that were invited under the Express Entry program, 16.1% had a valid job offer included on their Express Entry profile. That means that nearly 84% of Express Entry candidates invited to apply for permanent residency in 2020 did not have a job offer in Canada.

IRCC Year-End Report 2020

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