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Canada uses category-based Express Entry draws to invite candidates whose profiles match with the country's economic goals.

In category-based Express Entry draws, Canada invites candidates who are eligible for a specific category, which may relate to any of the following factors:

  • official language ability
  • work experience
  • education

Category-based Express Entry rounds are held in addition to general and program-specific draws.

To be eligible for an invitation through a category-based Express Entry draw, you must meet all of the requirements in the instructions for that round.

When Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) holds a category-based round of invitations, it will rank candidates in the pool who meet the category requirements and invite the top candidates to apply for permanent residence.

IRCC will provide full eligibility details in the instructions for each round.

Keep in mind, you must first be eligible for an Express Entry-managed program in order to be invited in a category-based Express Entry draw. That means you must meet all eligibility criteria for the Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Program, or Federal Skilled Trades Program.

How many Express Entry categories are there?

Canada may change the Express Entry categories as the labour market needs fluctuate. In 2023, there are six categories, one for language and five are by occupation.

These are the Express Entry categories for this year. Click to learn more about the eligibility criteria for each:

French-language proficiency

Healthcare occupations

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) occupations

Trade occupations

Transport occupations

Agriculture and agri-food occupations

How Canada chooses categories

IRCC chooses categories for targeted Express Entry draws based on the following factors:

  • labour market information and projections
  • input we received from our partners, including provinces and territories, and stakeholders across the country

Each year, IRCC reports to Parliament on the categories chosen for the previous year, including why and how they were chosen, the instructions to establish a category, and the number of invitations issued for each.

Canada will also include information about category-based Express Entry draws in the annual Express Entry Year-End Report.

In order to remain flexible to the labour market, IRCC will also monitor and assess categories on a regular basis.

If you’re interested in moving to Canada but not sure which program you may be eligible for, check your eligibility for more than 20 different Canadian immigration programs by taking Moving2Canada’s free Canada Immigration Quiz.

Category-based Express Entry Draw History

The following tables show the draw histories of category-based Express Entry draws.






Agriculture and Agrifood