CanadaCanadian CitizenshipCanadian Experience ClassExpress EntryLife in CanadaSettle in CanadaStudy in CanadaJune 30, 2023by Neeraja KolaganiCanada has conducted its first-ever category-based Express Entry draw exclusively for healthcare workers.

The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) invited 500 healthcare professionals who met the minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 476. This draw marks the introduction of the new category-based selection draws, which were announced on May 31. Another round is scheduled for July 5, inviting 1,500 healthcare workers to apply. Additionally, a draw for candidates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions is expected to take place during the same week.

The healthcare sector faces a significant shortage of workers in Canada due to the country’s low birth rates and aging population. With an estimated nine million Canadians reaching retirement age in the next seven years, the demand for healthcare services is expected to rise. To address this shortfall, Canada is relying on immigrants to fill these critical positions and compensate for the lack of younger Canadians.


Under the new category-based selection system, healthcare occupations constitute the largest group, with 35 eligible occupations. These include various healthcare professionals such as dentists, nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists, and many others. Other categories that will be targeted in future draws include STEM professions, trades, transportation, agriculture and agri-food, and individuals with strong French language proficiency.

The introduction of category-based selection draws is a result of changes made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in June 2022. The Minister of Immigration now has the authority to select economic immigrants based on key attributes that align with Canada’s economic priorities or promote French-speaking immigration outside of Quebec. These categories were determined through consultations with provincial and territorial governments and other stakeholders who provided insights into the areas with the most significant labor force gaps.

To be eligible for occupation-specific categories, candidates must have at least six months of continuous work experience in one of the listed occupations within the past three years, either in Canada or abroad.