Express Entry is the flagship system that Canada uses to manage immigration applications submitted by skilled workers around the world.
Launched in 2015, Express Entry has revolutionized Canada’s immigration system.
Before Express Entry, Canada processed immigration applications from skilled workers in the order they were submitted. This resulted in a very slow system since more applications were submitted than Canada could process.
As such, successful applicants often needed to wait several years, sometimes five years or more, before Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) would grant them permanent residence (PR).
Express Entry is a more dynamic system. Candidates upload their profiles for free on IRCC’s website.
They receive a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on characteristics such as their age, education, English and/or French skills, work experience, among other factors.
Every two weeks, IRCC issues invitations to apply (ITA) for permanent residence to candidates based on their CRS scores. IRCC’s processing standard for permanent residence applications is now six months or less.
Each year, IRCC releases an analysis called the Express Entry Year-End Report.
This report is important and helpful because its provides plenty of information on Express Entry, such as how it is operating, and the demographic characteristics of Express Entry candidates.
For example, the report tells us that IRCC issued 85,300 ITAs in 2019.
Here is where they came from.
Top 10 countries by citizenship
In 2019, the top 10 countries of citizens who received ITAs under Express Entry were:
India (47% of all ITAs)
United Kingdom (2%)
United States (2%)
South Korea (1%)
Why many immigrants arrive from India and the U.S.
Unsurprisingly, Indians continue to receive the majority of ITAs.
As the world’s second largest country, India has a significant middle-class population that speaks English, has high levels of education, and the work experience and skills that are desired by employers in Canada.
IRCC’s Express Entry report shows that the leading occupations of successful Express Entry candidates in 2019 were:
Software engineers and designers
Information systems analysts and consultants
Computer programmers and interactive media developers
Financial auditors and accountants
Indian professionals are arriving to Canada with these sorts of occupational backgrounds, and are particularly adept in ICT-related professions. In fact, many are former H-1B or other visa holders who worked in tech jobs in the U.S., and then decided to move to Canada. IRCC’s report shows that 12 per cent of ITAs went to people living in the U.S. in 2019.
The recent freeze on H-1B visas by the U.S. government creates much uncertainty for global talent. As a result, it may lead to even more Indians succeeding through Express Entry in the near future, and moving to Canada from both India and the United States.
Nigeria moves to #2
Nigeria has overtaken China as the second-leading source of successful Express Entry candidates. Nigerian immigration to Canada has been booming in recent years.
Nigerians are a great source of talent since English is their country’s official language, they have high levels of education, and have many professionals with backgrounds in ICT, STEM-related fields, and oil and gas—all of which are prevalent fields within Canada’s economy.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, global oil prices have fallen even further. Oil-rich countries such as Nigeria may bear a heavy burden as a result, which may cause even more Nigerians to move to Canada in the coming years.
48% of successful candidates lived in Canada
Some 48 per cent of ITAs went to Express Entry candidates who were already residing in Canada.
This is a function of how Express Entry’s CRS awards points.
Plenty of research shows that immigrants who have Canadian experience are able to integrate quickly into Canada’s economy once they obtain PR.
Fortunately, research shows that immigrants who arrive to Canada from overseas are also very successful in the economy.
Given that the CRS awards additional points to candidates with Canadian education and work experience, former Canadian international students and foreign workers have a strong advantage under Express Entry.
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is one of various programs designed to help such individuals obtain PR. Many Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams, for example, also serve the same purpose.
Most ITAs go to candidates outside of Canada
After all, they still account for the majority of successful candidates. Moreover, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) remains the leading Express Entry #program, comprising 45 per cent of all ITAs.
It is true that #IRCC has not issued ITAs to FSWP candidates since the start of the pandemic. However, such candidates should not lose hope.