The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is used under the Express Entry system which was created in 2015 to fast-track the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class. The reason for the creation of this system is to address labour market shortages in Canada through the immigration of skilled workers into the economy.
These programs can be applied for by creating an online profile and selecting a federal program under the Express Entry umbrella. Canada immigration points are awarded according to CRS criteria that measures several aspects discussed below. The highest scoring profiles in the Express Entry pool are selected in draws that generally happen in intervals of two weeks to be issued with Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residence.
A Picture-Perfect Profile
For the sake of visualizing the ideal candidate applying for these federal programs, we’ve created a hypothetical candidate to illustrate what the perfect profile would look like. Keep in mind that this is an example of what the best and highest-scoring profiles would look like but there are many examples of lower-scoring profiles that still get selected in the Express Entry draws.
Isabella is a hypothetical 27-year-old candidate from Hawaii who is looking to submit a Canadian visa application through the Express Entry system. The program she is choosing to register her profile under is the Federal Skilled Worker Program as she is an architect, falling under the National Occupational Classification categories 0, A or B that order skilled occupations.
Follow Isabella’s journey through the application period as she enters the Express Entry pool, bearing in mind that she has a very strong profile and serves as an example of one of the best candidates applying for these programs.
This section deals with the main applicant’s profile and scores your qualifications as well as level of education. Candidates don’t need to score in all of the categories offered but for the sake of visualizing what this looks like, we’ve scored Isabella accordingly.
Isabella scores some top points for her age because she is between the ages of 20 and 29 (after which the score incrementally lowers). She also achieves highly (126 points) for having a Masters Degree in architecture which is not required to apply through Express Entry but certifies her ability to practice in her field. She has taken the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) test and achieved a level 10 in English and a level 7 in French as it’s her second language. She has also worked in Canada for two out of the last five years which adds 46 (out of 70) points to her score.
|Criteria||Max Points Awarded (with Spouse)||Max Points Awarded (without Spouse)|
|Level of Education||140||150|
|Official Language Proficiency||150||160|
|Canadian Work Experience||70||80|
This category has to do with the secondary applicant which is either the spouse of the main applicant or their common-law partner. There are only a few Canadian immigration points awarded for their profile but it can make a big difference if you add a secondary applicant whose profile is weak.
In Isabella’s case, her husband Pierre is a private math tutor with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics which gains him a good score in this category but he has no Canadian work experience and this aspect counts against him. In terms of language proficiency, his French (CLB 8) is actually better than his English (CLB 6) scoring him a 12 (out of 20).
|Section B (Spouse or Common-law Partner)|
|Criteria||Max Points Awarded|
|Level of Education||10|
|Official Language Proficiency||20|
|Canadian Work Experience||10|
This category awards points for combinations of skills such as good language proficiency along with a post-secondary degree which can be transferred to the respective field when working in Canada.
In Isabella’s case she achieves top scores for education combinations because of her language proficiency paired with a post secondary degree as well as Canadian work experience. She also has foreign work experience in her field which matched with good language skills and Canadian work experience gives her additional points. She is not applying for a skilled trade so the last portion does not apply to her.
|Education||Max Points Awarded|
|With good language proficiency + a post-secondary degree||50|
|With Canadian work experience + a post-secondary degree||50|
|Foreign Work Experience||Max Points Awarded|
|With good official language proficiency + foreign work experience||50|
|With Canadian work experience + foreign work experience||50|
|Certificate of Qualification (trades occupations)||Max Points Awarded|
|With good language proficiency + a certificate of qualification||50|
This category is all about additional profile factors that candidates don’t need but these points could make the difference between missing the cut-off score during an Express Entry draw and pushing your profile to the top of the pool of candidates.
Isabella’s husband Pierre has a sister living in Canada which adds a few points to the main profile score. In terms of French language skills, their proficiency could be better but because Isabella’s CLB for French is quite high, it still counts towards their score. Neither of them have studied in Canada, nor have they applied for a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) but Isabella already has an offer of employment from a Canadian employer that she currently works for on a temporary work visa which really boosts her because of the 200 point increase.
|Criteria||Max Points Awarded|
|Brother or sister living in Canada||15|
|French Language Proficiency||30|
|Post-secondary Education in Canada||30|
The overall score achieved by Isabella (in conjunction with Pierre’s profile as the secondary applicant) is 627 points which is considered very high according to trends in Express Entry draws. Applicants who score over 400 points generally stand a chance of being selected but the probability increases the closer candidates get to a score of 500 or more.
Ways to Improve Your Score
By no means is every candidate expected to achieve a score as high as Isabella’s and there are plenty of ways to apply for immigration without being a skilled worker through one of the programs under Express Entry. However, this is a great example of how to improve your score.
We’ve seen how through studying further in Canada, working in Canada, brushing up on your French and English and getting an offer of employment can really boost your CRS score. Additionally, a Provincial Nomination (PN) sends your profile over the top, effectively guaranteeing your chances of achieving an ITA for permanent residence, assuming you meet all the criteria for your selected program.
What We Do
Our service makes use of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) who are experts in the field of immigration policy and have all been through the application period themselves. When searching for guidance about submitting the correct documents on time and boosting your profile through systems like Express Entry, an RCIC becomes invaluable.
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