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Top Strategies for Maximizing Your Chances in Category-Based Draws in Express Entry System

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Express Entry System draws in 2024 & Prediction

In An Express Entry System Category-based draws may seem like a game of chance, but there are strategic ways to increase your chances of coming out on top. By analyzing past winners and understanding the selection criteria, you can gain valuable insights into how to position yourself for success.

Play to Your Strengths

One effective strategy is to focus on entering categories where you have a competitive advantage. By showcasing your expertise and experience in a specific field, you can set yourself apart from other participants and increase your chances of being selected.

Diversify Your Entries

While it’s important to play to your strengths, it’s also beneficial to diversify your entries across multiple categories. This not only increases your overall odds of winning but also allows you to explore new opportunities and expand your skill set.

Stay Up to Date

To maximise your chances in category-based draws, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest trends and developments in your chosen categories. By staying ahead of the curve, you can tailor your entries to align with current industry standards and preferences.

Network and Collaborate

Building connections within the community of participants can also work in your favor. By networking with other entrants and potential collaborators, you can gain valuable insights and support that may improve your chances of success.

In recent weeks, several outlets have indicated that many immigration candidates are expressing concern over high CRS cut-off scores. Thus far in 2024, there has not been a general Express Entry draw with a minimum/cut-off CRS score below 524.

CRS scores for category-based selection draws in 2024

IRCC has conducted eight category-based Express Entry draws to date this year.

Compared to IRCC’s nine general and program-specific draws this year, the department’s CRS cut-off for category-based draws has been at least 33 points lower in every 2024 draw.

Specifically, IRCC’s eight category-based draws so far this year breakdown as follows:

DateMonthCategoriesCRS Score
1FebruaryFrench language proficiency draw365
14FebruaryHealthcare draw422
16FebruaryAgriculture and Agri-Food draw437
29FebruaryFrench language proficiency draw336
13MarchTransport draw430
26MarchFrench language proficiency draw338
11April Transport draw491
24April French language proficiency draw410
CRS Category-based selection draws in 2024

Accordingly, Express Entry candidates who are concerned about obtaining a CRS score that is high enough for IRCC’s general draws may find value in pursuing an ITA through IRCC’s category-based Express Entry draws, as this allows eligible candidates to benefit from a generally lower CRS cut-off requirement.

Am I eligible for category-based selection?

To be eligible for an ITA through a category-based Express Entry draw, candidates must meet a unique set of criteria depending on the category they fall under.

More: Visit this dedicated webpage for more details on all six categories, and to see if you may be eligible for IRCC’s category-based draws, depending on your NOC code and other criteria.

Specifically, in addition to meeting all the requirements included in the instructions for a specific round of invitations, applicants must meet additional criteria depending on the applicable category.

French language proficiency category

  • Have a minimum score of 7 in all four language abilities (speaking, reading, writing and listening) on the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC)

More: In April, IRCC announced that French language proficiency will account for the majority (30%) of ITAs issued through category-based draws this year.

Occupational categories

In 2024, IRCC has chosen to focus on immigration candidates with eligible work experience in the following five industries:

  • Healthcare
  • STEM
  • Trades
  • Transport
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food

All occupational categories eligible for category-based selection require candidates to have at least six months of eligible full-time, continuous (or equivalent part-time) work experience in the last three years. This work experience may have been obtained in Canada or abroad.

Note: Although the list of eligible National Occupation Classification (NOC) codes varies based on the occupational category, qualifying work experience must have been obtained in a single occupation under one of the qualifying NOCs in a given category.

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