The 2018 Results of Canada’s Express Entry System

Published on: Jul 14, 2019 | Tags: Canada Entry Requirements, Canada Immigration


An end of year report on Canada immigration has just revealed that around 92,000 immigrants came to the country in 2018 through the Express Entry system. This was a 41% increase on the 2017 figures and was announced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) on July 2, 2019.

However, the seemingly big rise was no real surprise since the IRCC had set ambitious admissions targets in advance. These targets apply to the three classes within the Express Entry system. In fact, numbers are planned to increase every year up tp 2021.

The three entry classes are:

  • The federal skilled worker class
  • The federal skilled trades slass
  • The Canadian experience class

The Canadian federal government chooses applicants for each class from a pool and awards them points through a ranking system. Based on the points allocated, appicants can then go on to be awarded permanent residence.

How applicants are ranked

The comprehensive ranking system (CRS) takes into account factors such as:

  • Eductaion
  • Age
  • Skilled worker experience
  • Language proficiency (in English or French)

These factors ensure a fair and thorough selection process and the most suitable applicants are awarded residency on a rolling basis throughout the year.

According to the IRCC's report, around 280,000 people applied to the combined three classes of the Express Entry program. The highest number of residency awards was allocated within the federal skilled worker class, while the Canadian experience class benefitted from the second-highest number of recidency awards. The federal skilled trades class, enabling experienced and qualified tradespersons from around the world to come and live in Canada, had the lowest number of residency allocations among all three classes. This is most likely due to the specialist nature and skills requirements for certain trades.

Provincial nominations

When evaluating candidates and awarding points, those with a provincial nomination are boosted up the ranks. In 2018, 12% of residency awards went to candidates with a provincial nomination. In fact, this was consistent with the 2017 percentage.

Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia granted a higher number of provincial nominations to applicants in 2018 compared to previous years. The IRCC's report also noted that major cities in Ontario such as Toronto and Ottawa were the main destinations chosen by applicants. British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia were the next most popular provinces.

The professions most likely to be invited to apply

Software engineering was the most common occupation for applicants who received invitations, followed by information systems, analytics and consultancy. In addition, many applicants had computer programming or and financial auditing expertise, with a number possessing administrative skills. This broad range of professions shows that the government is taking a balanced approach to fill gaps in the labor market through Canada immigration.

More about the ranking factors

When candidates are ranked, human capital factors play a large part. These include looking at an individual's age, ability to speak English or French, educational background and relevant work experience. Taking these areas into account, points are allocated to form the CRS score.

Looking at these factors in more detail reveals some interesting trends. Younger applicants in the age group of 20 to 29 years tended to be the most successful. When it comes to education, the majority of successful applicants had been through higher education, with many having 3 years or more at a post-secondary level, a Master’s degree or an equivalent professional standard. The majority (60%) of applicants had no work experience in Canada but quite a number (39%) had relevant work experience from other countries.

In looking at the report overall, the data reveals that the Express Entry system is enjoying great success and running to target. As a reminder, before being awarded permanent residency, many individuals are eligible to apply for a Canada visa or Canada ETA (electronic travel authorization) to visit Canada. A Canada visa or Canada ETA is issued according to the home country of the applicant. Many countries (but not all) are eligible for the ETA scheme, including the majority of European countries, Poland, Australia and New Zealand, to name but a few. A full list of countries can be found on the Canadian government's website.

Immigration experts have hailed Canada’s Express Entry system as a thrilling experience, with 2018 showing particularly positive results. The expectation now, based on the targets is to see the 2018 figures being upstaged in 2019 and 2020.

Successful applications within the system can also bring their families over to Canada, which goes to show the government's true commitment to integrating new arrivals into their new communities, jobs and the country as a whole.