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IRCC Report on Express Entry year one

by Michael Scott

Immigration, Citizenship and Refugee Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC) has conducted its own assessment of the first 12 months of the Express Entry selection system for immigration to Canada. The report gives us a snapshot of the types of applicants selected as part of the first 23 draws – or invitations.


Over the first operational year, 31,063 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) were issued from the inventory collected under the Expression of Interest online profiles. There are a number of things the IRCC report highlights:

  • The ITAs were issued to a number of occupations but chief amongst these were IT and food service industry occupations;
  • The majority of ITAs were issued to applicants who are residing in Canada;
  • Over 50 per cent of the invited candidates were foreign nationals from India, Philippines, China, the UK and Ireland.

The IRCC summarized their findings by stating, “Future invitation rounds from the Express Entry pool will become the main source of applications to meet annual immigration levels [and], targets for certain economic immigration programs under the Federal Express Entry system as the older inventories are reduced.”

Express Entry was intended to become the selection mechanism to ensure that Canada’s economic and labour market needs would be met. It was supposed to be more of a response to the needs of Canadian employers and provinces. Therefore candidates with qualifying job offers supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or provincial nomination were favoured with additional assessment points (600). There is no question that an approved job offer is beneficial, but it was not the only way to qualify for an ITA. Over 40 per cent of the candidates invited did not have approved job offers.


The top job most invited occupations made up 10,685 (or 38 per cent) of the total number of ITAs issued. The occupations include: NOC6311 food service supervisors; NOC6322 cooks; NOC2171 information system analysts and consultants; NOC2173 software engineers; NOC2174 computer programmers and interactive media developers; NOC4011 university professors and lecturers; NOC6211 retail sales supervisors; NOC5241 graphic designers and illustrators; NOC1111 financial auditors and accountants; and NOC1112 financial and investment analysts. IT professionals (NOC beginning with 21) and business and finance professionals (NOC beginning with 11) appear to possess the human capital needed to secure selection, while other candidates with NOCs beginning with 63 were more likely to have been selected on the basis of a work permit and work inside Canada.

Three Federal Skilled Immigration streams

The early draws highlighted the value of education and work inside Canada under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). This will help explain the numbers of food service supervisors and cooks who were selected throughout 2015. The immigration department expect this number to decrease during the current operational year into the future with a shift towards “a wider range of occupations, particularly in professional occupations such as IT and business.”

Although CIC applicants dominated the early selections, the composition changed throughout 2015 with an increase in the number of “enhanced provincial nomination certificates” issued and selection from applicants from other federal skilled immigrants streams such as the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC). And there was a small but steady issuance of invitations under the Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC). The final figures show 13,214 (42.6 per cent) under the FSWP, 11,228 (36.1 per cent) under the CEC, 4,105 (13.2 per cent) under the PNP and, 2,516 (8.1 per cent) under the FSTC.

Processing times

What about the claim that permanent visas would be issued in six months? The reality is that 80 per cent were actually completed in this time frame. The IRCC took time out to praise itself on this accomplishment: “[It] leaves the system in a competitive position to continue to attract new candidates who wish to take control of their own destiny and approved to an immigration system that is responsive and swift.”

The IRCC Report provides a favourable assessment of the Express Entry selection model. The program has been used by a significant number of Philippine citizens – 12.6 per cent of the ITAs. But the challenges faced by friends and family members abroad continues to grow. There is no question that there is a special advantage for overseas foreign workers and international foreign students inside Canada. But the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is not the only way to earn an invitation. Applicants without job offers are being selected. Potential applicants must continue to improve their immigration potential to match the selection process. If they do not, then run the very real risk of being passed over for selection.

Michael Scott BA (Hon), MA, is a 30-year veteran of Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program who works as an immigration associate with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. (204) 783-7326 or (204) 227-0292. E-mail: mscott.ici@gmail.com.

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