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With a target of 110,770 immigrants to be processed this year through the Express Entry system, we are all eager to see who will get a coveted ITA in 2024. Thanks to an internal IRCC memo 鶹ӳý acquired following an Access to Information request submitted by Carry Immigration, we now have a better idea of who is going to get an ITA this year.

Key Takeaways:

  • The French proficiency category applicants will receive the most ITAs this year, with 30% of ITAs going to applicants who qualify for the French proficiency category.
  • General/ All Program draws will account for 21.5% of ITA’s issued.
  • We can expect to see more STEM and Healthcare occupation draws in 2024.
  • If you are hoping to be selected under an Agriculture and Agri-Food occupations draw, you may want to look for other options, with only 0.5% of ITAs going to these applicants.

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Who Will Get ITAs in 2024?

The internal IRCC memo 鶹ӳý acquired following an Access to Information request submitted by (R517388) related to the category-based draw allocations in 2024. It outlined “The number of ITA rounds planned in 2024 by round type”:

  • General: no target specified.
  • French: 30%
  • Healthcare: 15%
  • STEM: 25%
  • Trade: 5%
  • Transport: 3%
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food: 0.5%.

Though the share of invitations intended to be issued in General draws was not specifically given in the heavily redacted memo, the balance of 21.5 percent of invitations are expected to be delivered through General draws.

These figures relate to an internal IRCC memo. They are not guaranteed, and the government may change its approach without warning at any point. Use them as a rough guide only.

How Many ITAs Will Be Issued This Year?

IRCC has an annual target to welcome 110,770 applicants in 2024 and 117,500 applicants in 2025 via the Express Entry system. To welcome these numbers, IRCC will likely need to issue between 105,000 and 120,000 ITA’s in 2024.

This tracks with what we are seeing so far in 2024, in terms of the number of ITAs being issued by IRCC. As of the Express Entry draw on April 24th 2024, we have seen 35,970 invitations to apply sent this year. Tracking at the current rate, we would see around 105,000 ITAs in 2024. This is a slight increase compared to the 95,000 invitations sent in 2023, and it aligns with pre-pandemic levels.

Many of the other figures we’re seeing in 2024 also align with the internal IRCC memo.

Who Has Received ITA’s So Far This Year?

Almost 36,000 ITA’s have been issued so far this year. Here is a breakdown of how these have been distributed:

  • General: 14,445 ITA’s issued, representing 40% of ITA’s issued in 2024
  • French: 12,400 ITA’s issued, representing 35% of ITA’s issued in 2024
  • Healthcare: 3,500 ITA’s issued, representing 10% of ITA’s issued in 2024
  • STEM: 4,500 ITA’s issued, representing 13% of ITA’s issued in 2024
  • Trade: There have been no trade draws
  • Transport: 975 ITA’s issued, representing 3% of ITA’s issued in 2024
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food: 150 ITA’s issued, representing 0.5% of ITA’s issued in 2024

What Can We Expect For the Rest of 2024?

Based on the internal memo of how draws will be distributed along with what we have seen to date, this is what we can expect for the rest of 2024.

General / All Program Draws

If we add up all the category-based percentage targets for ITA rounds in 2024, we get around 78.5% of invitations to apply to go to category-based candidates this year.

However, so far we have seen 60% of invitations overall being issued via category-based rounds, with 40% going to general draws.

One reason for this discrepancy is that PNP candidates are among those who receive an ITA in General or All Program draws. Since the memo only covers the distribution of draws targeting Federal High Skilled (FHS) profiles and not those who qualify under a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), the higher proportion of general draws we are seeing could be a result of PNP profiles receiving an ITA.

However, we don’t have specific information from the internal memo explaining the difference. We do know that for the first 4 months, IRCC has consistently held at least 2 general draws a month. We will have to wait and see if this continues.

French Proficiency Category

The French proficiency category will take the lion’s share of ITAs this year with 30% of ITAs going to those who qualify for the French proficiency category.

If we use the overall ITA target for 105,000 to 120,000 ITAs to be issued this year, we can expect 31,500 ITAs to be issued under the French proficiency category.

To date, 12,400 ITAs have been issued under the French proficiency category, representing 35% of all ITA’s so far. Given that we are a third of the way through 2024, we can expect the volume and cadence of the French proficiency category draws to slow down.

STEM Occupations Category

To date, the STEM occupations category has been underwhelming. With what we know now, the tides might be shifting for STEM draws. We have seen only 1 STEM draw in 2024 with 4500 ITAs issued. The IRCC memo outlining the schedule for Express Entry draws in 2024 states that 25% of ITAs will be issued to STEM occupations. This means we can expect a further 21,750 to 25,000 to be issued over the next 8 months. If IRCC continues with the same volume of ITAs issued per STEM draw, this would represent another 4 to 5 STEM draws this year.

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Healthcare Occupations Category

3,500 ITAs have been issued so far under the Healthcare Occupations Category. By the end of 2024, Healthcare Occupations Category should account for 15% of all ITAs issued. This means that we can expect roughly 12,000 to 14,500 more ITAs to be issued under the Healthcare Occupations Category which should equal 3 to 4 more draws.

Transportation, Trade, and Agricultural Occupations

These 3 categories together will represent 8.5% of all ITAs issued. This is equivalent to around 3000 in the Transportation category, 6000 in the trades category and 700 in the Agricultural category.

If you were hoping to secure an ITA under one of these categories, it may be the time to start looking at other options, like what is available through Provincial Nominee Programs.

What is Express Entry?

Express Entry is Canada’s application management system for three key federal economic immigration programs, the Federal Skilled Worker program, the Canadian Experience Class and the Federal Skilled Trade program.

Express Entry operates on a points system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Under the CRS, candidates eligible through any of these programs are ranked against one another based on their age, education, language proficiency, work experience, and other factors.

Between the inception of Express Entry in 2015 and the introduction of category-based draws in 2023, candidates were selected primarily based on their points total alone, or on a combination of points and program eligibility.

Why Category-Based Invitation Percentages For 2024 Matters

Category-based Express Entry selection began in 2023 and shook up the Express Entry system, as now candidates could be selected based on their points total, the program(s) they are eligible for, and their eligibility through a targeted category.

This meant that candidates eligible for category-based selection could be invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence with relatively fewer points, compared to candidates who are not eligible for category-based selection but who are nonetheless in the Express Entry pool.

As Canada intends to issue just over one-in-five invitations via General draws in 2024, it means that candidates can reasonably expect points thresholds, also known as cut-off scores or cut-off thresholds, to be significantly higher in General draws than in category-based draws.

In essence, candidates’ chances of being invited to apply are greater if they qualify through at least one of the categories.

Remember, these numbers are not guaranteed and should be used as a guide. If you qualify to enter the Express Entry pool, we encourage you to submit your profile. At the same time, be sure to research any Express Entry alternatives that may be available to you.

About the author

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Hugo O'Doherty

He/Him
Canadian Immigration & Integration Specialist
Hugo O’Doherty has over a decade of experience and research in Canadian immigration, establishing him as a recognized authority on immigrant integration and adaptation. His personal and professional experiences with immigration have made him an expert on the practical aspects of successfully moving to and settling in Canada.
Read more about Hugo O'Doherty
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