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Canada invited 500 healthcare workers in its first occupation-specific draw through the Express Entry system on Wednesday.
The draw, announced by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser earlier in the day, featured a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System score of 476, which was 10 points lower than the all-program draw a day earlier.
It took the number of ITAs issued through Express Entry in 2023 to 60,249.
Fraser also said a further 1,500 ITAs would be issued to healthcare candidates on July 5. It is the first time Canada has pre-announced Express Entry draws.
“We are bringing more health care workers to Canada,” Fraser said on Twitter.
“We’ve changed the approach to immigration by bringing an additional focus on certain sectors facing serious labour shortages. The first sector to benefit from this new process is healthcare.
“Today, 500 skilled healthcare workers will be invited to immigrate to Canada, and on July 5, we will invite 1,500 more.
“This new program is expected to double the number of healthcare workers coming to Canada through the federal Express Entry system this year.”
Healthcare workers make up 35 of the 82 occupations that will be targeted under new occupation-focus Express Entry draws, that were announced on May 31.
Healthcare Jobs targeted By Express Entry
|2021 NOC code
|2021 TEER category
|Audiologists and speech language pathologists
|Dieticians and nutritionists
|General practitioners and family physicians
|Instructors of persons with disabilities
|Kinesiologists and other professional occupation in therapy and assessment
|Licensed practical nurses
|Medical laboratory assistants and related technical occupations
|Medical laboratory technologists
|Medical radiation technologists
|Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
|Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors
|Other assisting occupations in support of health services
|Other practitioners of natural healing
|Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating
|Other technical occupations in therapy and assessment
|Pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy assistants
|Physician assistants, midwives and allied health professionals
|Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
|Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists
|Specialists in clinical and laboratory medicine
|Specialists in surgery
|Therapists in counselling and related specialized therapies
|Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists
Occupations in the following fields will also be targeted:
- science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions
- trades, such as carpenters, plumbers and contractors
- agriculture and agri-food
New draws will also target candidates with strong French language ability.
To be eligible, candidates must have accumulated, within the past three years, at least six months of continuous work experience (in Canada or abroad) in one of the individual occupations, a full list of which are available further down this article.
The aim is to make Express Entry, which manages applications for federal immigration streams including the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program and Canadian Experience Class, as well as parts of the Provincial Nominee Program, more responsive to labour market needs.
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The decision to also target francophone candidates is intended to support French-speaking communities across Canada.
Changes To Immigration, Refugee and Protection Act
Canada first signalled its intention to start occupation-specific draws through Express Entry in June last year, when changes were made to the Immigration, Refugee and Protection Act to allow invitations based on occupations and other attributes, such as language ability.
The majority of Canada’s provinces have been issuing occupation-specific invitations for several years.
Under the changes to the act, the Immigration Minister is required to consult provinces and territories, members of industry, unions, employers, workers, worker advocacy groups, settlement provider organizations, and immigration researchers and practitioners, before announcing new categories.
IRCC must also report to parliament each year on the categories that were chosen and the reason or the choices.
Employment and Social Development Canada says the number of occupations facing shortages doubled between 2019 and 2021. From 2018 to 2022, Federal High Skilled admissions accounted for between 34 per cent and 40 per cent of overall French-speaking admissions outside Quebec, which manages its own immigration intake.