Category-Based Express Entry

Canada Express Entry: Category Based Updates 2024

The Express Entry system is Canada’s most important immigration tool for managing skilled worker applications for permanent residence. It assesses applicants based on a points system that considers factors like work experience, education, and language proficiency. This system is central to Canada’s strategy for meeting labor market demands and economic growth. 


The Express Entry system manages applications from three main economic immigration programs, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class. Each program targets different skills and experiences, from professional and managerial roles to trades and Canadian work experience.


In 2023, to further specify Canadian labour needs the IRCC introduced Category-Based Express Entry draws. These draws target applicants in sectors that the Canadian parliament has approved as critical to the Canadian labour force. Each year, the categories are reviewed to align with the changing labour needs of Canada. In 2023, the IRCC conducted 17 category-based draws inviting over 16,000 applicants.

Category-Based Draw

Updated Category-Based Draws

IRCC announced it will continue with the same targeted categories introduced last year.


The focus of the occupation-based Express Entry draws will be selected from the following categories: 


  1. Proficiency in the French language 
  2. Healthcare
  3. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) 
  4. Trade occupations 
  5. Transport occupations
  6. Agriculture and agri-food occupations

Here is the criteria for each of the categories as outlined by the IRCC.



Proficiency in the French language: Possess a minimum of NCLC 7 in all language categories.


Healthcare occupations: Candidates must demonstrate at least half a year (6 months) of continuous work experience within the past three years in one of the targeted 35 NOC (National Occupational Classification) codes, gained either within Canada or internationally.



Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) occupations: Candidates must have accrued a minimum of six months of continuous work experience in the last three years in one of the 24 specific NOC codes, irrespective of whether this experience was gained domestically or overseas.



Trade occupations: For these roles, candidates need to have amassed at least six months of continuous employment over the past three years in one of the ten outlined NOC codes, with the experience being valid whether it was obtained in Canada or abroad.



Transport occupations: Prospective applicants must present evidence of at least six continuous months of work experience in one of the ten designated NOC codes over the previous three years, with the location of this work experience (Canada or overseas) being immaterial.



Agriculture and agri-food occupations: Candidates should have secured a minimum of six months of continuous work experience within the last three years in one of the three specified NOC codes, regardless of whether this experience was gained within Canada or abroad.

Impact on Applicants


The continuation of category-based selection in Canada’s Express Entry system for 2024 means prospective immigrants with skills in targeted sectors—like healthcare, STEM, skilled trades, and others—will have more opportunities for selection. This prioritization aligns with Canada’s economic needs, potentially benefiting applicants with relevant qualifications and experience in these critical areas, thereby impacting their chances of securing permanent residence in Canada.


Category-Based draw

As Canada maintains its category-based Express Entry system into 2024, prospective immigrants in fields like healthcare, STEM, and Agriculture favorable consideration. This approach underscores the importance of aligning immigration with Canada’s economic sectors in need. For individuals feeling discouraged due to not having the necessary skills in the selected categories, don’t! At Canada by Choice we offer guidance and support, ensuring applicants maximize their potential for success under the Express Entry system. 

Express Entry
The information in this blog is not to be interpreted or construed as legal advice. Everyone’s immigration goals, objectives and situations are different. Please contact us to speak to a consultant for advice.

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