CANADA: Changes to Express Entry System & Foreign Worker Restrictions

Changes to the Express Entry System

Canadian Immigration is making heavy use of the Express Entry system in 2017.  There have been 10 draws since January and each draw has resulted in at least 3,500 invitations being issued.  The scores of the lowest ranked invited candidates have been dropping steadily as well.  The most recent draw on 19th April saw 3,665 invitations issued and the lowest ranked successful candidate had 415 points.  The Express Entry program was changed in December 2016 to reduce the points available to candidates with confirmed job offers and this change has levelled the playing field considerably.

Canadian immigration recently announced three more changes to Express Entry.  One change is to award 15 additional points to candidates who have strong French language skills.  The second is to award 15 additional points to candidates who have a sibling in Canada.  The final change is to allow candidates to voluntarily register with the Canada Job Bank instead of requiring registration.  These changes will go into effect on 6th June 2017.

Our advice

Anyone planning to apply to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry, or anyone who is currently in the pool, should evaluate their points to see if they will be eligible for additional points after 6th June.  Candidates who have French language skills should take the required French test to see if they can obtain additional points.  Candidates who have a sibling in Canada should obtain documentation to establish the relationship.

Foreign Worker Restrictions in Alberta

The Canadian Federal Government and the Province of Alberta have placed restrictions on admitting temporary foreign workers in 29 high skilled occupations.  The 24 month pilot project has been implemented as a measure to deal with persistently high unemployment in Alberta since the oil price decline of 2014.  In the recent past, Alberta was a power house of job creation and many employers resorted to hiring temporary foreign workers in a wide variety of skilled and low skilled positions.  Now, with an unemployment rate of 8.4%, the ministry responsible for temporary foreign workers will refuse to process Labour Market Impact Assessment applications for certain occupations related to engineering, skilled trades, transport truck drivers and oil and gas drilling personnel.

For more information on how the topics raised may impact you or your business, or for advice on Canadian immigration in general, please email us at

Contact Newland Chase