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Express Entry Immigration – a New Approach to the Point System

Posted on December 22, 2016

The Government of Canada, through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRRC), is continually making improvements to the Express Entry immigration stream. Referring to past experiences, IRCC is laying down a foundation for the future with improvements and enhancements that will make for a better program, with better outcomes.

Just by example, there have been high numbers of Express Entry candidates in food service occupations, simply because the jobs were weighted heavily under the points system (the Comprehensive Ranking System). With recent changes, however, there’s a concerted effort to have more wide-ranging occupations included in the points system.

With an eye on the future, IRCC is planning to issue more Invitations to Apply (this is the ITA) in 2017. This would be good news for immigration candidates who want to create a profile for themselves. In fact, IRCC is also putting a greater focus on skills and experience, which in itself is of benefit to those who with certain specializations.

Important to note is the new points set up with regard to securing a Labour Market Impact Assessment.  To begin with, point totals have changed, and points now differ between the occupations under the National Occupational Classification and occupations in other skilled categories. To be sure, these are improvements to benefit candidates.

There are also changes to some non-LMIA job offers (Labour Market Impact Assessment).  These are now being awarded points, and include workers in Canada who possess working papers that more select. With non-LMIA jobs, workers must have worked in Canada for a minimum of 1 year (job offers must be made by the same employer).

Going forward, IRCC wants to fine-tune the points system for immigrants (Comprehensive Ranking System), and as such, there are a number of defined objectives:

  • More invitations going to candidates with a high level of “human capital”
  • An approach that empowers employers to better fill high-skilled jobs
  • Fewer invitations for employment offers in the low wage occupations
  • Better chances for candidates being eligible for an Invitation to Apply

In general, the points awarded for a specific job offer have decreased. At the same time, the volume of candidates who are seeking points has increased. This is due to a number of variables, but mainly because job requirements for specific job offers have been slackened. Long term, this will change the immigration landscape for many applicants.

One of the bigger changes to the Comprehensive Ranking System affects international students in Canada. Essentially, IRCC wants to expand on incentives for foreign nationals who want to study in Canada. This means that points would be now awarded to education applicants for r post-secondary programs, as well as masters programs.

Beyond the ongoing improvements to Express Entry Immigration, the main purpose of the program remains the same:  to suitably match potential job candidates with employers that can offer meaningful career opportunities. But whatever the immigration program, its often of benefit to candidates to be working with a professional immigration specialist, someone who understands the ins and outs of the bureaucracy and can streamline the process.


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