Recent Changes and what you need to know
Express Entry is Canada’s online system for managing applications for permanent residence from skilled workers. It is one of the most popular and fastest ways to immigrate to Canada, as it allows candidates to create a profile and compete for invitations to apply (ITAs) based on their skills, education, work experience, language ability, and other factors.
However, Express Entry is not a static system. It undergoes changes and updates from time to time to reflect the needs and priorities of the Canadian government and the labour market. In this article, we will review some of the recent and upcoming changes to Express Entry and how they may affect your chances of success.
We will also explain why hiring an immigration lawyer can be a smart and beneficial decision for your Express Entry application. An immigration lawyer can help you avoid common mistakes, navigate the complex and dynamic system, and increase your chances of receiving an ITA and becoming a permanent resident of Canada.
Changes to the National Occupational Classification (NOC)
One of the major changes that took place in 2023 was the switch to the 2021 version of the National Occupational Classification (NOC). The NOC is a system that classifies all occupations in Canada according to their skill level and skill type. It is used to determine the eligibility and points of Express Entry candidates for various programs and streams.
The 2021 version of the NOC replaced the previous 2016 version, which used a four-level structure (NOC 0, A, B, C, and D) based on skill type and skill level. The new version uses a six-category system (NOC 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) based on the training, education, experience, and responsibilities (TEER) needed to work in an occupation. In addition, the four-digit occupation codes became five-digit codes, and the eligibility criteria were updated for all programs that use the NOC.
These changes may have an impact on your Express Entry profile, especially if your occupation code, skill level, or skill type changed under the new NOC. You may need to update your profile to reflect the new information and ensure that you still meet the requirements of your chosen program or stream. You may also need to obtain a new Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) or language test result if your previous ones are no longer valid under the new NOC.
An immigration lawyer can help you with these updates and ensure that your profile is accurate and consistent with the new NOC. A lawyer can also advise you on the best program or stream for your occupation and skills, and help you maximize your points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).
New Categories for Express Entry Draws
Another significant change that occurred in 2023 was the introduction of six new categories for Express Entry draws. These categories target candidates who have specific attributes that help the Canadian government meet its mandates to promote French outside of Quebec and to use immigration to strengthen Canada’s labour force and economy. The categories are:
- Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions
- Trades, such as carpenters, plumbers, and contractors
- Agriculture and agri-food
- Strong French proficiency
The first category-based draw took place on June 28, 2023, and invited 500 healthcare professionals to apply. Since then, the Canadian government has invited more than 16,000 Express Entry candidates through category-based selection.
These new categories offer more opportunities for Express Entry candidates to receive an ITA, as they are not based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, which is the main factor for ranking candidates in the pool. Instead, they are based on the occupation, industry, or language ability of the candidates. This means that candidates who have lower CRS scores but have the desired attributes may have a better chance of being invited than those who have higher CRS scores but do not have the desired attributes.
If you want to benefit from these new categories, you should check if you qualify for any of them and update your profile accordingly. You should also monitor the Express Entry draw schedule and results to see if your category is being targeted and what the minimum requirements are.
An immigration lawyer can help you with these steps and ensure that your profile matches the criteria of the category-based draws. A lawyer can also help you prepare your application and documents in case you receive an ITA through these categories.
What to Expect in 2024
As we enter 2024, we can expect more changes and updates to Express Entry, as the Canadian government continues to adapt its immigration policies and programs to the evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the post-pandemic recovery. Some of the possible changes that may occur in 2024 are:
- More frequent and larger Express Entry draws, as the Canadian government aims to achieve its ambitious immigration targets of welcoming over 400,000 new permanent residents in 2024.
- More category-based selection rounds of invitations, as the Canadian government prioritizes candidates who have the skills and experience that are in high demand in Canada, especially in the healthcare, STEM, trades, transport, and agriculture sectors.
- More provincial nominee program (PNP) draws, as the provinces and territories seek to attract and retain more immigrants who can contribute to their economic and social development.
- More changes to the CRS score and the ranking system, as the Canadian government may introduce new factors or adjust the existing ones to reflect the changing needs and preferences of the Canadian society and the labour market.
An immigration lawyer can help you stay informed and updated on these changes and how they may affect your Express Entry profile and application. A lawyer can also help you explore other options for immigrating to Canada, such as the PNP, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot, the Caregiver Program, or the Family Sponsorship Program. These options may have different or lower requirements than Express Entry and may offer more opportunities for you to achieve your Canadian dream.
Why Hire an Immigration Lawyer for Express Entry
As you can see, Express Entry is a dynamic and complex system that requires careful planning and preparation. By hiring an immigration lawyer, you can benefit from their expertise and guidance throughout the process. Here are some of the advantages of working with an immigration lawyer for Express Entry:
- An immigration lawyer can help you avoid common mistakes or provide misleading information on your Express Entry profile that could lead to application denial or a five-year ban.
- An immigration lawyer can help you find the proper forms to fill out, guide you through the process, and ensure that your application is complete and accurate.
- An immigration lawyer can help you improve your CRS score by advising you on how to improve your language skills, gain more work experience, obtain a higher level of education, get a job offer or a nomination from a province or territory, or add a spouse or common-law partner to your profile.
- An immigration lawyer can help you identify the best program or stream for your occupation and skills, and help you apply for it.
- An immigration lawyer can help you monitor the Express Entry draw schedule and results, and inform you if your category is being targeted or if there are any changes to the minimum requirements.
- An immigration lawyer can help you prepare your application and documents in case you receive an ITA, and ensure that you meet the deadlines and criteria.
- An immigration lawyer can help you spot errors made by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and advise you on the next steps.
- An immigration lawyer can help you appeal an unfavourable decision, and represent you in court if necessary.
Hiring an immigration lawyer is not a requirement for Express Entry, but it can make a big difference in your outcome. An immigration lawyer can save you time, money, and stress, and increase your chances of becoming a permanent resident of Canada.
If you are interested in hiring an immigration lawyer, you can contact us at MM Immigration Law and we will be happy to assist you. We have extensive experience and knowledge in Canadian immigration law, and we have helped thousands of clients achieve their immigration goals. We offer a reasonable fee for our services. Contact us today and let us help you with your Express Entry application. 🍁
Disclaimer: This article is for general information purposes only and it is not intended as legal advice. The information is not a substitute for professional legal advice, and it may not be appropriate for you. Do not rely solely on this blog. Always do your own research and due diligence. Immigration laws and regulations can change over time. It is important to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer if you are unsure how to proceed.