Canada has restarted its residency draws – what South Africans should know

After a more than 18-month break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has restarted its ‘Express Entry’ draws, allowing candidates from outside of Canada to be invited to apply for permanent residency.

Express Entry is an online system that the country uses to manage immigration applications from skilled workers.

The IRCC has indicated that a total of 1,500 candidates will be invited to apply for a permanent residency in the latest draw. Applicants are further ranked on a point-scale, with competition expected to be fierce due to the long hiatus and increased immigration demand.

Skilled South Africans have historically scored highly in the point rankings thanks to strong language skills, the probability of having obtained skilled work experience, and the higher education that they may have completed earlier in life.

There are three immigration programs managed through Express Entry:

  • Canadian Experience Class – is for skilled workers who have Canadian work experience. Work experience must have been gained in the three years before you apply;
  • Federal Skilled Worker Program – is for skilled workers with foreign work experience, who must meet criteria for education and other factors;
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program – is for skilled workers who are qualified in a skilled trade and must have a valid job offer or a certificate of qualification.

Data published by Statistics Canada in 2021 shows that between 2015 and 2020 over 25,000 South Africans obtained either temporary status, permanent residency or citizenship in Canada. And between 2015 and 2019 there was a 67.3% increase in South Africans obtaining permanent residency and a 75% increase in the number of study permits.

Overall, there was a 37.5% rise in the number of South Africans entering Canada prior to the Covid-19 global pandemic in 2020. Data shows that around 5,000 South Africans enter the Canadian immigration system for processing every year.

You can find out more about the various programmes and the point system here.


Read: Top South African power executive resigns for move to Canada

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Canada has restarted its residency draws – what South Africans should know