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Ask Tito Mike by Michael Scott  

First STEM draw announced
for category-based immigration

by Michael Scott

In May of this year Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, Sean Fraser, announced the implementation of category-based selection draws for permanent residence (PR) from the Express Entry online Express of Interest (EOI) data base. The purpose of the category-specific draw was to invite individuals with specific skills, training, and language abilities to apply for immigration. It would be beneficial for Canada to select applicants with the most in-demand skills for permanent residency and meet the ongoing labour needs of the Canadian economy. According to the Minister, “Canada’s immigration system has never been more responsive to the country’s social and economic needs.”

The category-based selection will be divided amongst applicants with a strong French language proficiency, experience in health care, experience in STEM professions (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and trades such as carpenters, plumbers, and contractors, as well as workers in both transport, agriculture, and agri-foods.

Candidates for category-based selection must be in the Express Entry pool following their online EOI (Express of Interest) submission. Candidates must show that they have worked at least six months in the past three years in a qualifying job. The applicants must first submit an online EOI related to one of the programs administered under Express Entry, such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program of the Canadian Experience Class.

In terms of category-based selection, the first STEM selection was made on June 28 with the invitation to apply sent out to 500 candidates with a minimum CRS score of 486. IRCC is prioritizing the invitation of skilled newcomers with STEM experience. Eligible occupations under the STEM draw include: architects, architecture and science managers, business system specialists, civil engineers, computer and information systems managers, computer engineers (except software engineers and designers), computer systems developers and programmers, cybersecurity specialists, data scientists, database analysts and data administrators, electrical and electronics engineers, engineering managers, industrial and manufacturing engineers, information systems specialists, land surveyors, landscape architects, mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries, metallurgical and materials engineers, natural and applied science researchers, consultants, and program officers, softwear developers and programmers, softwear engineers and designers, urban and land use planners, web designers, and web developers and programmers.

The CRS score still applies to category-based applicants. Minister Fraser spoke supportively of his efforts to attract candidates with a strong background in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“I am excited to announced this STEM category-based selection round with my colleague, Minister Champagne (Minister of Innovations, Science and Industry), which will increase access to permanent residence for skilled workers with STEM experience. We look forward to welcoming these talented and innovative newcomers to our country.”

It is comforting to know that our immigration department is taking active steps in managing the Express Entry system to attract the brightest and the best applicants for Canada. One of the greatest strengths of Canada is to remain a welcoming country of destination for skilled workers from abroad. The efforts to increase our recruitment of candidates with STEM experience is an example of the immigration department’s refinement of Express Entry to attract more in-demand skilled workers. We applaud their efforts and encourage family, friends, and applicants to consider Canada as the choice destination for STEM and other category-based immigration.

Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Immigration Canada and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with Immigration Connexion International Ltd. Contact him at 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: