Canada is launching a “tailored” immigration system for experts in five key sectors, with the first one being health care.


The new process, which is based on workforce categories, is supposed to speed up the permanent residency application process for skilled workers through the already-established Express Entry system. 


Before, candidates were ranked through accumulated points based on age, marital status, level of education and other criteria, regardless of who they worked for; this change ensures some of the workers skilled in understaffed fields in Canada are fast-tracked and put at the top of the list for an application invite.


In a press conference earlier on Wednesday, the federal government announced the first 500 invitations to apply for the program are for those working in health care and would be sent out that day, with 1,500 more within a week.


“The reality is that this new process is going to allow us to, or we expect (it to), double the number of health-care workers that will come through the Federal Express Entry System as soon as this year,” said Sean Fraser, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship. “This is a big change in the way that we’re going to attract health-care workers to this country.”


The federal government announced the second round for category-based selection will open the week of July 5 for experts in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field.


Health care and STEM are two of the six categories rounds launching this year. 


The category-based system is part of an initiative looking at what types of workers are in need in Canada, and fast-tracks the immigration of applicants who would qualify for those jobs. 


In a news release, government officials said the system change, announced earlier in the year, will provide a “streamlined and efficient pathway” for newcomers with experience in health, STEM fields, agriculture, transportation and skilled trades with previous experience either abroad or in Canada. 


The government says the launch of this program, and specifically the STEM category, aims to help Canada’s science and technology sector by bringing candidates such as data scientists, software developers and programmers, mathematicians, statisticians, and electrical and electronics engineers.


WHO IS ELIGIBLE


To be eligible for an invitation through a category-based round, a person must meet the minimum criteria for Express Entry, like all other general candidates, including being eligible for one of the three immigration programs.


In the Canadian Experience Class, applicants need at least three years of Canadian work experience.


For the Federal Skilled Worker Program, candidates need to meet the education criteria, yet their work experience could be Canadian or from abroad.


For the Federal Skilled Trades Program, applicants must have a valid job offer or a certificate of qualification.


Candidates for either program also must meet all the requirements for that specific round.


HOW IT WORKS


The online system will rank people based on accumulated points.


Historically, the point system was only based on age, marital status, level of education and other criteria, regardless of workforce.


The new, program-specific rounds, prioritises field of work based on three items: ability to communicate in a specific official language, work experience in a specific occupation and education.


This change is supposed to ensure more skilled workers are put at the top of the list and fast-tracked in their immigration process.


After the ranking, those at the top of the list will be invited to apply for permanent residence.


Category-based selections, along with general invitation rounds, will continue throughout the year, with more details to be announced in the coming weeks.


The other categories for 2023, which will launch later this year, include:


  • French-language proficiency;

  • trade occupations;

  • transport occupations; and

  • agriculture and agri-food occupation. 

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