New changes to Canada’s Express Entry program are coming into effect for newcomers to Canada.

This will allow selected people to become permanent residents based on their skills and work experiences, according to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). It was announced on August 1, 2023, that Canada’s Express Entry system has now been expanded to help provide an efficient pathway for people who have expertise in critical fields.

The first round of category-based selection through Express Entry will open this week and be for the trades.

IRCC announced that by prioritizing skilled newcomers with experience in the trades, the federal government aims to meet the demand for talent and fill positions that contribute to economic growth. This focus on candidates with trades expertise — which includes carpentry, plumbing and welding — is meant to help Canada’s construction sector attract skilled workers across the country, IRCC said.

Category-based selection is also part of the government’s commitment to attracting top talent and helping meet the need for tradespeople to support the economy. Following the Express Entry round for the trades, category-based selection rounds will continue throughout the year alongside general invitation rounds.

In the category-based rounds of invitations, the federal government will invite candidates in the Express Entry pool who are eligible for a specific category.

For 2023, the federal government has chosen these categories:

> French-language proficiency

> Healthcare occupations

> Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) occupations

> Trade occupations

> Transport occupations

> Agriculture and agri-food occupations

If you want to be eligible for an invitation through a category-based round, you must:

Meet the minimum criteria for Express Entry, including being eligible for one of the three immigration programs it covers.

Meet all the requirements in the instructions for that round.

When the federal government holds a category-based round of invitations, candidates in the pool who meet the category requirements will be ranked. Then, the top-ranking candidates will be invited to apply for permanent residency.

To be eligible for the trade occupations category, you need to:

Have accumulated, within the past three years, at least six months of full-time, continuous work experience (or an equal amount of part-time work experience)

In a single occupation included in the category in Canada or abroad meet all of the requirements for that round

Those occupations are residential and commercial installers and servicers, elevator constructors and mechanics, machine fitters, heating, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics, construction millwrights, and industrial mechanics.

Carpenters, plumbers, electricians, welders and related machine operators, contractors and supervisors, and other construction trades, installers, repairers and servicers are also included.

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