Does Canada’s Express Entry System Meet the Challenges of the Labor Market?

Tingting Zhang, Rupa Banerjee, Aliya Amarshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While most immigrant-receiving countries have restricted immigration during the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has taken a very different approach, increasing its immigration targets over the next three years. With this move, Canada has made it clear that immigrants are expected to play a lead role in the post-pandemic economic recovery. Most of these immigrants will be admitted through Express Entry, a hybrid system introduced in 2015 that combines elements of both supply- and demand-driven selection. In this article, we examine whether Canada’s hybrid selection system meets its current and future labor market needs in a post-pandemic world. Using a mixed methods approach, we combine analysis of an administrative dataset with data from qualitative interviews with employers and experts in the immigration sector. We find that while Express Entry is a flexible and responsive tool for selecting immigrants, it narrows the occupational profiles of newcomers. The system also does not fully address the labor shortages and skills gaps described by Canadian employers. We argue that Canada’s post-pandemic labor market will require a wider range of skills, and that Express Entry’s adaptability should be carefully monitored and adjusted to broaden the skill mix of immigrants and facilitate skills match between immigrants and employers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-118
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • Express Entry
  • Skilled immigrants
  • immigration policy
  • mixed methods
  • occupation
  • post-covid economy
  • skill gap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Health(social science)
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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