express entry

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

Published on: May 24th, 2022

Canada’s recent Bill C-19 proposes amendments to the immigration act that will change the way the government selects candidates from the Express Entry pool.

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Bill C-19 aims to amend the Immigration Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Most significantly, the proposed IRPA amendments put forward would mean big changes to the current Express Entry system.

How would Bill C-19 impact Express Entry?

Under the proposed changes, candidates would be invited based on ‘groupings’ set out by the minister of immigration. Through this system, the minister would select candidates according to how they rank within their grouping. The groupings would be established based on an economic goal they seek to support at the time. The minister would 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. Under the current structure, the immigration minister does not have permission to issue invitations based on other factors, such as occupation, language, or education.

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 proposed federal process may look like a macrocosm of how these PNPs are currently selecting their own candidates.

The intended 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.

On April 22, 2022, Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, confirmed that all-program Express Entry draws would resume by early July. Due to the high volume of candidates in the pool, an Express Entry draw using the current system would result 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. For this reason, it is possible that the government will implement these changes by the next all-program draw.


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