Annual Report on Express Entry
Every year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) publishes an annual Express Entry report, with the most recent one being the 2022 edition.
Express Entry serves as the application management system employed by the Canadian federal government to draw in foreign skilled workers interested in obtaining permanent residence (PR) in the country.
Introduced in 2015, the Express Entry system comprises three primary programs: the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).
It's essential to highlight that this system does oversee a segment of the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), but individuals applying through the PNP must also meet the eligibility criteria for at least one of the three aforementioned programs to utilize Express Entry for their immigration to Canada.
Please note that all the data presented in this article pertains to the period from January to December 2022.
Number of Express Entry profiles submitted in 2022 down slightly from 2021
The number of Express Entry profiles submitted in 2022 saw a slight decline compared to 2021. Specifically, a total of 428,391 Express Entry profiles were submitted in 2022, reflecting a modest decrease of 3% compared to the previous year but a noteworthy increase of 19% when compared to 2020. Among these profiles, a minimum of 74% remained eligible for at least one of the immigration programs administered by Express Entry, a statistic that remained unchanged from 2021.
When examining the gender breakdown, it's evident that more profiles were submitted by men, totaling 238,382, compared to women, who submitted 189,881 profiles. The distribution of profile submissions between men (56%) and women (44%) remained consistent with the proportions observed in 2021. While the percentage of profile submissions eligible for at least one program remained steady for men at 71% from 2020 to 2022, there was a slight uptick in 2022 for women, with 78% of their submissions meeting program eligibility criteria.
Most Express Entry profile submissions made by people with CRS scores between 301 and 500
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores serve as the means to evaluate and rank Express Entry candidates based on various selection criteria, including factors such as age, language proficiency, educational background, work experience, and more. The report underscores that the composition of CRS scores within the Express Entry pool is dynamic, subject to change with each new eligible profile submission.
However, it is noteworthy that, despite a slight reduction in the total number of eligible profiles submitted in 2022, the CRS scores for candidates at the time of submission consistently clustered within the 301-500 range each year.
Additional CRS points can be awarded to candidates who have pursued their education in Canada, possess proficiency in the French language, or have siblings residing in Canada. Among those who submitted profiles in 2022, a majority (55%) did not meet the criteria for any supplementary points. Nevertheless, this marks a gradual decline from the figures in 2020 (63%) and 2021 (58%), indicating a rising number of candidates eligible for at least one form of supplementary point. Notably, candidates most frequently satisfied the criteria related to having received education in Canada (23%) and having siblings in Canada (14%).
Who was invited to apply for permanent residence through Express Entry?
ITAs issued by draw in 2022
n the year 2022, IRCC conducted a total of 24 Express Entry draws, resulting in the issuance of 46,539 Invitations to Apply (ITAs). This figure represents a significant decrease of 59% compared to the 114,431 ITAs issued in the preceding year of 2021. This decrease is attributed to IRCC's temporary suspension of ITAs for the Federal High Skilled immigration programs managed within Express Entry, with the agency exclusively conducting Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)-specific rounds from September 2021 through July 2022.
Furthermore, due to these temporary general round invitation suspensions, the majority of ITAs in 2022 were extended to candidates within two specific programs: 19,258 were issued under PNPs, and 18,895 were granted under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) category. Notably, the remaining 8,386 ITAs were allocated to candidates under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), while no ITAs were issued under the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) during the year 2022.
ITAs issued by gender in 2022
In 2022, the majority of Express Entry invitations were extended to men, accounting for 58% of the total invitations issued, aligning closely with the proportion of eligible profile submissions made by men in relation to the overall profile submissions. When examining invitations based on program type, men received more invitations than women in both the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), with 42% for men and 39% for women, as well as in the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), with 43% for men and 39% for women.
This is a shift from the pattern observed in 2021, where a greater number and proportion of invitations were issued to both men and women within the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) category.
ITAs issued by age in 2022
Regarding the age of candidates who received invitations to apply, the most significant share of invitations in 2022 was allocated to individuals aged 20-29, constituting 50% of the total. This age bracket is linked to the highest point allocation within the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The second largest age group comprised individuals aged 30-34, and notably, this group experienced the most substantial proportional increase in 2022, rising from 19% in 2021 to 29%.
ITAs issued by education level in 2022
In 2022, the number of Invitations to Apply (ITAs) issued to Express Entry applicants primarily correlated with their highest level of education. Specifically, last year, a mere 1% of ITAs, totaling 540 invitations, were granted to applicants holding a high school diploma or less. 9% of all ITAs were awarded to individuals with a one or two-year post-secondary credential, while a substantial 40% of all ITAs were extended to candidates holding a post-secondary credential from a program lasting three years or more.
Remarkably, nearly half, or 46%, of all ITAs in 2022 were offered to individuals possessing a master's degree or an entry-to-practice professional degree credential. Lastly, recipients with a PhD made up 4% of all ITA recipients for the year.
ITAs issued by language proficiency in 2022
Generally, more ITAs in 2022 went to those with stronger first official language proficiency, according to their Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)/Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadien (NCLC) score.
In order of score, the following lists the number of ITAs given to applicants at each CLB/NCLC level in 2022:
- CLB/NCLC 4: 7 ITAs issued
- CLB/NCLC 5: 817 ITAs issued
- CLB/NCLC 6: 2,094 ITAs issued
- CLB/NCLC 7: 9,444 ITAs issued
- CLB/NCLC 8: 8,709 ITAs issued
- CLB/NCLC 9: 15,587 ITAs issued
- CLB/NCLC 10: 9,881 ITAs issued
ITAs issued by years of Canadian work experience in 2022
In the past year, the majority of recipients of Invitations to Apply (ITAs) were individuals with one year of Canadian work experience, as indicated by data in this report. Specifically, 41% of all ITA recipients, totaling 18,986 individuals, possessed one year of work experience in Canada. The next largest group of ITA recipients, comprising 35% of the total (16,066 ITAs), had no prior Canadian work experience. The only other segment that received more than 4% of ITAs consisted of Express Entry candidates with two years of Canadian employment experience, accounting for 16% of the total with 7,246 ITAs.
Candidates with various other amounts of Canadian work experience received four percent or less of all Express Entry ITAs in 2022.
Less than one year (1,957 ITAs, 4%)
3 years (1,528 ITAs, 3%)
4 years (480 ITAs, 1%)
5 years (276 ITAs, less than 1%)
ITAs issued by years of international/foreign work experience in 2022
Foreign work experience among 2022 ITA recipients showed an interesting trend as well, similar to Canadian work experience because ITAs did not simply rise with more years of work experience abroad. In fact, although the highest percentage of ITAs (35%) were issued to applicants with 5 or more years of foreign work experience (16,251), the next highest proportion of ITAs (12,569 ITAs, 27%) went to those with one year or less experience.
The list below outlines the remaining ITAs issued according to candidates’ foreign work experience in years:
1 year: 3,796 ITAs (8%)
2 years: 3,267 ITAs (7%)
3 years (6,035 (13%)
4 years (4,621 (10%)
ITAs issued by additional points assigned and criteria met for additional points in 2022
The report provided insights into invitations extended to both men and women who met the eligibility criteria for various types of additional points. In 2022, Education in Canada (19,587 ITAs) and Arranged Employment (8,756 ITAs) emerged as the most prevalent categories for which both men and women met the criteria.
Throughout 2022, Education in Canada and Arranged Employment remained the predominant additional point types for men. However, for women, the most common were Education in Canada and French language proficiency.
The allocation of additional points for Arranged Employment remained consistent for both genders over the past three years, with men satisfying the criteria at a higher rate (65%) compared to women (35%). Although the number of ITAs granted to both genders equaled 50% in 2020 and 2021, women met the criteria for French language proficiency points at a slightly higher rate than men in 2022, with 53% versus 47%.
The top three primary occupations among 2022 ITA recipients were in the technology industry
In 2022, there were notable shifts in the primary occupations of candidates who received invitations to apply for permanent residency through the Express Entry system when compared to previous years.
In 2021, due to the emphasis on CEC- and PNP-specific rounds of invitations, there was a substantial increase in candidates holding Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities (TEER) 2 occupations. These occupations typically require a college diploma, including those necessitating apprenticeship training of two or more years or supervisory roles. However, in 2022, candidates with TEER 1 occupations, which generally require a university degree, constituted a significant proportion of ITAs.
Occupations primarily within the technology sector emerged as the most prevalent in 2022. Notably, roles such as software engineers and designers, information systems specialists, and computer systems developers and programmers dominated the list, accounting for a significant portion of candidates invited to apply through the Express Entry system.
Furthermore, food service supervisors and cooks were also prominent among the top occupations for candidates invited to apply in 2022.
Software engineers and designers were assigned the most Arranged Employment points for Express Entry in 2022
The most common occupation among candidates invited to apply who were assigned Arranged Employment points changed from food service supervisors in both 2020 and 2021, to software engineers and designers in 2022.
There was an equal distribution among the TEER categories of the top 15 occupations.
Most ITA recipients were residents of Canada, India and Nigeria for the second straight year
This past year, most immigration candidates who received an ITA from the Express Entry system were residents of Canada (31,486). This continues a trend in recent years, as Canada was also the top country of residence among ITA recipients in 2021 (102,906) and 2020 (68,061). Among foreign Express Entry applicants who received an ITA, most immigrants were residents of either India (3,787) or Nigeria (1,730). These two countries also rounded out the top three a year ago.
The complete list of the top 10 countries of residence among 2022 ITA recipients is as follows (the number of ITAs issued to residents of each country is in parentheses).
1. Canada (31,486)
2. India (3,787)
3. Nigeria (1,730)
4. Cameroon (1,063)
5. United States of America (842)
6. Morocco (793)
7. United Arab Emirates (683)
8. Lebanon (559)
9. Algeria (550)
10. France (381)
Most ITA recipients held citizenship in India, followed by Algeria and China
Further data shows that the top countries of citizenship among ITA recipients have also changed slightly over time. India has taken the top spot in each of the last three years. In 2020 and 2021, the People’s Republic of China ranked second on this list. Finally, while 6,550 Nigerian citizens received ITAs in 2020 (ranked third), citizens from the Republic of Korea accounted for the third most ITA recipients (3,131) in 2021.
Similar to the above data, below is the complete list of the top 10 countries of citizenship among ITA recipients in 2022. Listed next to each country, in parentheses, is the number of ITAs their citizens were issued this past year.
1. India (20,769)
2. Algeria (2,909)
3. People’s Republic of China (2,456)
4. Cameroon (1,218)
5. Iran (1,210)
6. France (1,069)
7. Morocco (978)
8. United States of America (939)
9. Philippines (934)
10. Pakistan (923)
Most ITA recipients continue to settle in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta
Given the historical preference of Canadian permanent residents for settling in three primary provinces – Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia – it is pertinent to examine the choice of destination province among the 2022 Express Entry applicants.
Continuing the pattern observed in previous years, the majority of Express Entry applicants (16,978 individuals) chose to establish themselves in Ontario in 2022. However, it's worth noting that the proportion of applicants who opted for Ontario decreased from 61% in 2021 to 48% in the past year. British Columbia (6,966 individuals) and Alberta (4,372 individuals) remained the second and third most favored provinces of destination, comprising 20% and 12% of all Express Entry applicants, respectively.
Once again, in line with the trends of the preceding two years, the three Canadian territories – Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and Yukon – continued to be the least favored destinations for Express Entry applicants, with a total of 78 individuals settling there in 2022.
Please note that this data does not account for Express Entry applicants bound for Quebec, as the province operates its distinct immigration programs.
Express Entry application processing times generally slower than 2021
For the second consecutive year, processing times for most Express Entry applicants saw an increase. In 2022, the total processing duration for applications across all programs stretched to 21 months, a substantial jump from the 8 months observed in 2021. It's important to note that this increase is primarily attributed to the average processing time, defined as the period within which IRCC finalizes 80% of applications, for Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) applications, which surged from 23 months in 2021 to 63 months in 2022. When we break it down by program, 80% of Canadian Experience Class (CEC) applications were processed within 19 months (compared to 6 months in 2021), Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) applications took 29 months (up from 28 months in 2021), and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) applications took 13 months.
Please note that PNP applications took an average of 21 months to process in 2021.
In its seventh year of operation, the Express Entry application management system remained a dependable avenue for immigration to Canada's federal government. It continued to be a popular choice for foreign nationals worldwide seeking to make Canada their new home. Through the three programs under the Express Entry system, thousands more highly skilled foreign nationals were granted permanent residence in Canada.
Despite a 59% reduction in the number of Invitations to Apply (ITAs) issued in 2022 compared to the previous year, IRCC persisted in welcoming qualified economic immigrants to Canada. These individuals are expected to integrate effectively into Canadian society and contribute to the nation's economic and social advancement.
Looking ahead, the Express Entry system has expanded to better target areas of Canada's labor market with the most significant employment gaps and demands. This has been facilitated through IRCC's category-based Express Entry draws, which commenced on June 28, 2023. These draws specifically aim to attract immigration candidates proficient in French or possessing recent work experience in five occupational groups: healthcare, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), transportation, trades, and agriculture/agri-food. Category-based draws have played, and are expected to continue to play, a crucial role in Canada's efforts to address its most pressing labor market challenges.
As of the time of writing, IRCC has already issued 11,900 ITAs to immigration candidates across these targeted categories in 2023.
Canada's immigration department will persist in exploring ways to more effectively and comprehensively utilize the application management system. This approach aims to ensure that Canada can tap into the global skilled worker community while maintaining its position as one of the world's premier destinations for immigrants.