The Canadian government is reforming the immigration system to offer "express entry" to skilled immigrants who want to come here as permanent residents, as a way to fill open jobs where there are no available Canadian workers.

The government says express entry will do what the Temporary Foreign Worker Program can't: it will ensure that skilled immigrants are able to settle in Canada permanently to help meet the country's labour needs.

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander told a committee of MPs this week that express entry is "the top priority" for his department.

"It's the new system for delivering all of our economic programs starting on Jan. 1, 2015," Alexander said on Wednesday.

Express entry could be offered to skilled immigrants who have put in an application through the federal skilled worker program (FSWP), the federal skilled trades program (FSTP), the Canadian experience class (CEC), and a portion of the provincial nominee program.

In preparation for the launch of the new immigration system, the government began accepting 25,000 applications under the federal skilled worker program​ on May 1, 2014, up from 5,000 applications it accepted the year before. It also more than doubled the number of professions skilled immigrants can apply for.

Canada is actively recruiting skilled immigrants for the federal skilled worker program​ in the following 50 occupations, which the government says reflect the latest labour market needs:

  • 0013 Senior managers — financial, communications and other business services. 
  • 0015 Senior managers — trade, broadcasting and other services, not elsewhere classified. 
  • 0111 Financial managers.
  • 0112 Human resources managers.
  • 0113 Purchasing managers
  • 0121 Insurance, real estate and financial brokerage managers.
  • 0311 Managers in health care.
  • 0711 Construction managers.
  • 0712 Home building and renovation managers.
  • 0811 Managers in natural resources production and fishing.
  • 0911 Manufacturing managers.
  • 1111 Financial auditors and accountants.
  • 1112 Financial and investment analysts. 
  • 1113 Securities agents, investment dealers and brokers.
  • 1114 Other financial officers.
  • 1123 Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations.
  • 1212 Supervisors, finance and insurance office workers.
  • 1224 Property administrators.
  • 2113 Geoscientists and oceanographers. 
  • 2131 Civil engineers.
  • 2132 Mechanical engineers.
  • 2133 Electrical and electronics engineers.
  • 2145 Petroleum engineers.
  • 2171 Information systems analysts and consultants.
  • 2172 Database analysts and data administrators.
  • 2173 Software engineers and designers.
  • 2174 Computer programmers and interactive media developers.
  • 2232 Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians.
  • 2234 Construction estimators.
  • 2241 Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians.
  • 2243 Industrial instrument technicians and mechanics.
  • 2263 Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety. 
  • 2281 Computer network technicians.
  • 3011 Nursing co-ordinators and supervisors. 
  • 3012 Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses. 
  • 3111 Specialist physicians. 
  • 3112 General practitioners and family physicians. 
  • 3132 Dietitians and nutritionists. 
  • 3141 Audiologists and speech-language pathologists. 
  • 3142 Physiotherapists.
  • 3143 Occupational therapists.
  • 3214 Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists.
  • 3215 Medical radiation technologists.
  • 3216 Medical sonographers. 
  • 3233 Licensed practical nurses.
  • 3234 Paramedical occupations.
  • 4011 University professors and lecturers. 
  • 4151 Psychologists. 
  • 4214 Early childhood educators and assistants.
  • 5125 Translators, terminologists and interpreters.

The number before the occupation corresponds to the National Occupation Classification list, which is currently being updated.

Within the 25,000 cap, the government will process a maximum of 1,000 applications submitted for each application set out above.

The current list was published by the Immigration Department under "ministerial instructions," which governments use to change laws without debate.