More than 92,000 immigrants admitted to Canada through Express Entry in 2018, year-end report shows

Software engineer was most common occupation among 89,800 Express Entry candidates invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence last year

Canada admitted more than 92,000 new permanent residents through its Express Entry system in 2018 — an increase of 41 per cent over the year before, a new federal government report shows.

The findings are contained in Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s 2018 year-end report for the Express Entry system, which was released July 2.

The increase in admissions is in line with Canada’s rising admissions targets for the three Federal High Skilled economic-class immigration programs managed by the Express Entry system — the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class — as well as a portion of Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Canada’s federal government and many of its provinces and territories have immigration streams that are used to select candidates from the Express Entry pool and provide these candidates with the opportunity to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Canada’s admissions target for the three programs managed by the Express Entry system rose in 2018 and is slated to continue to rise each year through 2021.

Canada has also expanded its admissions target for the PNP, which rose to 55,000 in 2018 and is scheduled to increase each year through 2021.

Many invited candidates are only admitted the following year. IRCC attributed the increase in Express Entry admissions last year to a large number of Federal High Skilled candidates who were processed in 2017 but only admitted in 2018. Additional Express Entry candidates who were processed and admitted through the PNP in 2018 also contributed to the spike, IRCC said.

Admissions include principal applicants and their accompanying family members.

Invitations by program

Express Entry manages the pool of candidates for the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class.

Eligible candidates for each program are entered into the Express Entry pool where they are ranked based on a score awarded under what is known as the Comprehensive Ranking System, or CRS.

The CRS  awards points for factors that include age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French, which are both the official languages of Canada, as well as other factors.

The highest-ranked candidates are issued an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence (ITA) through regular draws from the pool, which generally take place every two weeks.

The year-end report shows that nearly 280,000 Express Entry profiles were submitted in 2018, of which 70 per cent were eligible for at least one of the three Federal High Skilled programs.

Federal Skilled Worker Class candidates received 53 per cent of ITAs issued in 2018, or 47,523 of 89,800 ITAs.

This result reflects adjustments to the CRS that were introduced in late 2016 and continue to favour candidates with higher human capital scores, namely Federal Skilled Worker Class and Canadian Experience Class candidates.

Canadian Experience Class candidates received the second greatest number of ITAs in 2018 with 30,571 while another 904 ITAs went to candidates in the Federal Skilled Trades Class.

Of those who received invitations in 2018, 71 per cent did not claim any type of additional points and, of those who did, only five per cent had a job offer in Canada.

PNP invitations

A provincial nomination is the single most valuable factor under the Express Entry system and results in an additional 600 CRS points for candidates who receive one, effectively guaranteeing an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

A total of 10,802 Express Entry candidates with a provincial nomination received an ITA in 2018, up from 8,733 the year before.

This amounted to 12 per cent of all ITAs issued in 2018, which was consistent with the proportion of Express Entry candidates who had a provincial nomination in 2017.

Admissions of new permanent residents through Express Entry-aligned PNPs were also up in 2018.

Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and British Columbia all saw increases in this category, with Ontario experiencing a year-over-year increase of 3,082 — by far the largest of any Canadian province.

IRCC also noted that Ontario, which is home to major cities such as Toronto and Ottawa, was the destination province for 64 per cent of all candidates who applied for Canadian permanent residence through Express Entry in 2018.

Of the 122,247 applications received in 2018, 78,838 had Ontario listed as their province of destination.

British Columbia placed a distant second, with 22,153 applicants listing it as their destination, followed by Alberta (8,868), Saskatchewan (3,708) and Nova Scotia (3,532).

Who’s getting invited?

Software Engineers take the lead

Software Engineer was the most common occupation among those who received an ITA last year, displacing Information Systems Analysts and Consultants, which fell to second place.

Computer programmer remained the third most common occupation, followed by financial auditors and administrative assistants.

Top 10 Occupations — 2018Number invited% of all 2018 ITAs
Software Engineers — NOC 21736,1267%
Information Systems Analysts and Consultants — NOC 21715,4296%
Computer Programmers and Interactive Media Developers — NOC 21743,4504%
Financial Auditors and Accountants — NOC 11112,4833%
Administrative Assistants — NOC 12412,3353%
Professional Occupations in Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations — NOC 11232,0492%
University Professors and Lecturers — NOC 40111,9422%
Financial Investment Analysts — NOC 11121,9212%
Professional Occupations in Business Management Consulting — NOC 11221,9152%
Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations Managers – NOC 01241,7752%

Indian Citizens receive most invitations

Citizens of India dominated Express Entry invitations in 2018, receiving 46 per cent of all ITAs issued (41,675).

Citizens of China were a distant second, with 6,248 ITAs, followed by citizens of Nigeria, who received 6,025 ITAs last year.

Core human capital factors

Human capital factors include age, proficiency in English and French, education, and work experience. Combined, they provide what is known as a candidate’s core CRS score, which can reach a maximum of 600 points.

The IRCC data shows that 51 per cent of Express Entry candidates who received an ITA in 2018 were between the age of 20 and 29.

In terms of education, 48 per cent had a Master’s degree or entry-to-practice professional degree and another 42 per cent had a post-secondary credential of three years or longer.

A majority of candidates (60 per cent) had no Canadian work experience, while 39 per cent had five years or more of foreign work experience.

“The evolution of Canada’s Express Entry system has been thrilling to experience and 2018 was no exception, as this report makes clear,” said David Cohen, senior partner with the Campbell, Cohen Canadian immigration law firm in Montreal.

“More than 90,000 foreign workers and their families were welcomed to Canada last year through Express Entry, an unprecedented number that we may see upstaged in the future given the higher targets that Canada has set for 2019 and 2020.”