express entry

How Will Bill C-19 Change Canada’s Express Entry System?

Published on: May 24th, 2022

Canada recently passed Bill C-19, making amendments to the immigration act that will change how the government selects candidates from the Express Entry pool.

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Canada’s recently passed Bill C-19 will amend the Immigration Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), driving big changes to the current Express Entry system.

How would Bill C-19 impact Express Entry?

Under the proposed changes of Bill C-19, candidates can be invited based on ‘groupings’ set out by the minister of immigration. Through this system, the minister can select candidates according to how they rank within their grouping. The groupings will be established based on an economic goal they seek to support at the time. The minister will then publish the economic goal of each round as well as the eligibility criteria on the IRCC website.

The Canadian government has not confirmed which groupings will be chosen; they will likely be based on factors such as work experience, educational background, or proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages. For example, they may hold a round of invitations issued to only French-speakers, or to candidates with experience in a particular occupation in demand.

How Canada currently selects Express Entry candidates

Canada’s Express Entry system currently ranks candidates on a points-based system and issues invitations solely based on a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.

Some provinces, however, may invite Express Entry candidates based on these additional factors. Certain Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) target individuals in the pool of candidates that meet criteria that help respond to the provinces’ labour or demographic needs. Examples of this include Ontario’s Human Capital Priorities and French-Speaking Skilled Worker streams, and Nova Scotia’s Labour Market Priorities Stream.

The federal process proposed by Bill C-19 may look like a macrocosm of how these PNPs are currently selecting their own candidates.

The changes aim to respond to Canada’s labour market and demographic needs more effectively.

As Canada faces a growing labour shortage, Canadian businesses urge the federal government to ease immigration pathways for skilled workers.

When will Canada hold targeted Express Entry draws?

The immigration minister is obligated to consult with stakeholders before deciding which groupings to invite in an Express Entry draw. Stakeholders include provinces and territories, industries, unions, employers, workers, worker advocacy groups, settlement provider organizations and immigration researchers and practitioners. Through the consultation process, the minister will obtain information, advice, and recommendations on how categories may be formed to meet Canada’s economic goals.

This advice must be based on written submissions provided by relevant stakeholders. After the bill was passed at the end of June 2022, the minister will now need to go through the consultation process before beginning these targeted draws.

Canada resumed all-program Express Entry draws on July 6, 2022. Due to the high volume of candidates in the pool, an Express Entry draw using the current system is resulting in a very homogenous group of candidates. The government has previously expressed concerns that this group of candidates would not likely respond to Canada’s labour market needs.


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