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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is considering changes to the categories it uses for category-based draws in 2025, according to a recent survey sent out by IRCC.

Key Takeaways

  • IRCC is considering adding education to the current list of category-based draws to address long-term labour shortages. 
  • The french-language category will likely continue into 2025. 
  • IRCC is considering adding categories for key industries with emerging labour shortages such as natural resources (critical mineral extraction towards electric vehicle battery production), new technologies (clean/green technology, quantum), and applied sciences (biotechnology, biomanufacturing) 
  • Category- based draws in 2025 may target skilled workers already in Canada, such as former international students or temporary foreign workers.
  • This is a developing story. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates about changes to Canada’s Express Entry system.

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IRCC regularly engages with stakeholders to help it with immigration planning. It regularly consults with the public and stakeholders to develop its annual Immigration Levels Plan. In fact, its 2024 consultation for the 2025-2027 Immigration Levels Plan is currently open, and includes a survey that asks about the proposed immigration targets. 

IRCC also sends out surveys to select organisations to ask about strategic initiatives, such as the categories it uses. These are not public-facing documents, nor are they a guarantee that changes will be made. But they do provide insight into the various approaches IRCC is considering. 

In this case, IRCC has shared a survey which states: 

The economic priorities and categories we’re considering for 2025 are:

  • Addressing structural (long-term) labour market shortages (specific occupations in health, STEM, trades, transport, agriculture and agri-food, and education)
  • Supporting economic growth through Francophone immigration outside of Quebec
  • Addressing emerging labour needs in Canada’s key industries and sectors (natural resources, new technologies, and applied sciences)”

What Occupations Could Be Added to the Category- Based Draws?

The Survey made it clear that there is an intent to add Education as a category to the category- based draws in 2025. What’s more, the survey suggests some occupations within this category that we may see on the list. These include: 

  • Elementary school and kindergarten teachers – NOC 41221
  • Elementary and secondary school teacher assistants – NOC 43100
  • Early childhood educators and assistants – NOC 42202
  • Secondary school teachers –  NOC 41220
  • Educational counsellors – NOC 41320
  • Instructors of persons with disabilities –  NOC 42203

In addition to education, we may see occupations in natural resources, new technologies, and applied sciences being selected. The survey doesn’t give too much away on their intent with these categories but did give some industry examples including: 

  • Clean/green technology, quantum
  • Biotechnology, biomanufacturing
  • Critical mineral extraction towards electric vehicle battery production


What Categories Could Be Removed?

Based on the communication in the survey, it does not look like IRCC will be removing any categories in 2025 however they could reduce or expand the number of occupations that appear in each category. The survey gives no indication as to whether they intend to do this. 

The survey did focus some questions on the effectiveness of targeting skilled workers with strong French language skills but given IRCC’s target to increase Francophone immigration outside Quebec to 8% in 2026, it is unlikely that French will be removed from the category list. 

What Should You Do If Your Work Experience Falls Into One of the Proposed Categories? 

Given the high CRS cut offs for general draws that we’re seeing in 2024, these category updates could be a gamechanger for eligible candidates.

Although it is unlikely that IRCC will introduce changes to its categories in the near future, if you have an occupation that may appear on the 2025 list, it is best to start planning and enter the Express Entry pool as soon as possible.

If new occupations are introduced there will likely be a high level of interest when they are officially announced so getting your profile in early may mean you benefit from the tie- breaking rule in which the candidates with the same CRS score are further ranked by the date they entered the pool, with the oldest profile prevailing.

Other Takeaways from the Survey

In discussing the topic of new categories, the survey also indicated that IRCC is considering focusing category-based selection on temporary residents already in Canada, rather than bringing in new skilled workers from outside Canada. 

To do this, they could merge category- based draws with the requirement that the applicant qualifies under the Canadian Experience Class program. 

As we outlined, this is a developing story. If you would like to receive updates about changes to Canada’s Express Entry system, subscribe to our newsletter via your free Moving2Canada account. 

About the author

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Rebecca Major

Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Rebecca Major is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (R511564) with nearly 15 years of licenced Canadian Immigration experience, gained after graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in the UK. She specializes in Canadian immigration at Moving2Canada.
Read more about Rebecca Major
Citation "Changes Coming To Express Entry Category-Based Draws." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation


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