Immigration News Feb 14

Canada held a new General Express Entry draw

On February 13, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) held a new Express Entry draw and issued 1,490 Invitations to Apply (ITA). In this draw, IRCC continued inviting candidates under all immigration programs. In round #283, the cut-off score was 535 points, six points fewer than the previous draw. The tie-breaking rule for this round was February 11, 2023, at 15:26:56 UTC. As of February 11, 2024, there were 211,273 profiles registered in the Express Entry pool. This year, Canada issued 11,770 ITAs through Express Entry.

Alberta will launch a new immigration stream in March 2024

On February 13, 2024, the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) unveiled plans for a new Tourism and Hospitality Stream, which is set to launch on March 1, 2024. In 2022, Alberta experienced a notable surge in tourism spending, reaching $10.7 billion—a $600 million increase from 2019. This growth marks a robust recovery from the pandemic-induced downturn and positions the province to surpass previous year-over-year visitor expenditure records. To foster further economic growth, the province is introducing this immigration stream dedicated to attracting skilled professionals to the tourism and hospitality industry. The AAIP will prioritize a select number of applications, aiding businesses in attracting and retaining essential workers, thereby bolstering the economy. Comprehensive details on eligibility and application procedures will be accessible from March 1, 2024. Alberta’s tourism and hospitality sector significantly contributes to economic growth and job creation, particularly in rural areas and communities outside major urban centers.

Canada is the safest destination for travelers in 2024

Canada is rated the safest travel destination in 2024, moving from sixth in 2023. It topped the safety rankings for transportation, absence of violent crime, health measures, and safety for women, LGBTQIA+, and BIPOC. The ranking is part of Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection’s Safest Destinations report, which relies on surveys, the Global Peace Index, the State Department’s travel safety ratings, and GeoSure Global scores. The company defined a safe place free from terrorism, disease outbreaks, discrimination, and harassment. They attributed Canada’s top rank to its cold weather and low population density but warned of natural disasters like wildfires and avalanches. Despite this, reviews were largely positive. Switzerland ranked second, followed by Norway, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

The Express Entry categories are set to remain unchanged in 2024

Canada will retain the same Express Entry categories this year, according to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). These include French, Healthcare, STEM, Trades, Transport, Agriculture, and agri-food categories, selected based on Canada’s economic needs and in consultation with stakeholders. In 2023, there were 17 category-based draws across these sectors. Changes to the frequency of draws have been observed since the introduction of category-based selection in June 2023. The impact of these changes on Canadian immigration will become clearer once more data is available and more receive permanent residency in early 2024.