If you want to become a permanent resident of Canada, chances are you have considered doing so via the Express Entry system. However, to be eligible for an Express Entry program, you must have a good Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.
But how do you get one? How is it worked out? If mine isn't good enough, can I improve it? How? What even is a good CRS score?
If these questions have tumbled through your mind when looking to apply, you're in luck. This article will answer ten of your most burning questions about Canada's CRS to give you a clear idea of how it works and what you need to do to get the best out of the system.
What is the CRS?
The Comprehensive Ranking System is a metric the Canadian government uses to test the eligibility of international immigrants for permanent residency in Canada. The CRS evaluates specific aspects of each applicant and creates a CRS score based on those aspects. These scores give the government of Canada a clear idea of how much of an asset you would be in Canada.
Which Canadian Immigration Programs use the CRS?
The Canadian Express Entry system uses the CRS to score candidates who apply through the Canadian federal government's skilled worker programs. These programs include
- The Federal Skilled Worker Program,
- The Federal Skilled Trades Program, and
- The Canadian Experience Class.
These are all designed to meet in-demand occupations that will continue to have deficits on the rise within the next five years across all of Canada's provinces, apart from Québec, which has a separate skilled worker program.
The Express Entry system was created in 2015 to fast-track specific applications (specifically those of critically skilled workers) to steady the economic gaps that continue to grow in these sectors.
Last year, the number of Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residence issued was 46,538. The Canadian government has unveiled plans to welcome over 500,000 more immigrants into its workforce per year by 2025, spelling a promising future for skilled workers looking to immigrate to Canada. These Canadian immigration points assist the government in selecting the best candidates for immigration.
How Does the CRS Work?
To apply to an Express Entry program, you must create an Express Entry Profile on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. When you create this profile, you must enter specific personal details such as your:
- Level of Education
- Work Experience
- Marital Status
- Language Ability
- Links to Canada
The CRS is designed to evaluate your details to determine your eligibility for permanent residence in Canada. Each of the above factors is scored out of a specific number of points based on how important each element is regarding your ability to contribute to the economy and culture of Canada.
Once you receive a CRS score, your profile is entered into the Express Entry pool with all other applicants' CRS scores. Every two weeks, the Canadian government holds an Express Entry draw, releasing a specific number, the minimum CRS score required for an ITA. These numbers change every draw based on the size and strength of the pool.
Despite the CRS score not being the only metric the government uses to select eligible applicants for permanent residence, those whose CRS scores are lower than the announced number will not receive an ITA. However, each draw is different. This means even if your CRS score isn't high enough for you to receive an ITA in this draw, it may be high enough for the next one.
How are CRS Points Scored?
The overall Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score is broken up into different sections with combinations resulting in higher points. These sections focus on your Human Capital, the Human Capital of your spouse, your skill transferability and any extra factors that prove you will be an asset to Canadian society. The points per section are as follows:
|Section A - Core/ Human Capital Factors|
|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|
|Section B - Spouse or Common-law Partner Factors|
|Criteria||Max Points Awarded|
|Level of Education||10|
|Official Language Proficiency||20|
|Canadian Work Experience||10|
|Section C - Skill Transferability Factors|
|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|
|Section D - Additional Points|
|Criteria||Max Points Awarded|
|Brother or sister living in Canada||15|
|French Language Proficiency||30|
|Post-secondary Education in Canada||30|
How Can I Calculate my CRS Score?
The IRCC has a CRS tool that will help you determine whether or not you will be eligible for Canada's Express Entry System. For an accurate CRS score, it's best to have an evaluation done by a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC).
An RCIC can fully evaluate you based on the Canadian government's standards and ensure you're applying for the immigration program that gives you the best chance of obtaining permanent residence in Canada.
What is a Good CRS Score?
Based on the Express Entry draws from the past year, a good CRS score to aim for is between 470 and 490.
These scores are only one way of proving your eligibility. In June 2022, Canada's minister for immigration, Sean Fraser, stated that the CRS score would become less of a priority in the Express Entry selection process with a greater focus on which skills are in high demand in Canada.
While CRS is still crucial in determining your eligibility for an Express Entry program, a good CRS score is no longer a guarantee of permanent residence.
Find out if your skills are needed in Canada here.
How Long is My CRS Score Valid?
An Express Entry profile is valid for 12 months from the day you create it. Once your Express Entry profile expires, your CRS score will expire. Your Express Entry profile must remain valid for you to be eligible for an ITA.
Your score may also become invalid if your details need to be updated. To prevent this, you must keep your details truthful, valid and up to date. If there is any untrue or invalid information in your application, your application may be significantly delayed or even rejected.
How Can I Get More CRS Points?
There are many ways to improve your language test results. A few of these include gaining more work experience and applying with a spouse. Let's take a look at some of the most popular ways.
Here's a full breakdown of all strategies you can use to improve your CRS score.
Is My CRS Score Higher if I Apply with My Spouse?
Couples could score fewer base CRS points than a single applicant but more points from their partner. For example, if you are 30 years old, you could claim 95 CRs points if you apply with your spouse or partner, but you will get 105 CRS points if you apply independently.
If you apply as a couple, however, you will have the opportunity to gain extra points through your spouse or partner's education, language skills, and Canadian experience. You could earn up to a maximum of 40 extra points. So although you may lose 10 points by applying with your loved one, it's better to apply together as you could gain four times the points anyway.
What's the Biggest Factor Affecting My CRS Score?
Provincial Nominations (PN). They’re worth 600 CRS points. Getting a Provincial Nomination or PN is a surefire way to up your CRS score. To get a PN, you will either need to express interest directly to your chosen province or territory or when creating your Express Entry profile. Because your PN will get you 600 extra CRS points, with the minimum required score for those with a PN being around 733 in the Express Entry draw for February 1, 2023, it's safe to say that you are virtually guaranteed to get an ITA.
Here's a full breakdown of the Provincial Nominee Programs, their eligibility criteria and how to apply.
Are There Services That Can Help Me Improve My CRS Score?
You can utilize multiple services to improve certain aspects of your CRS score, leading you to get more points. For example, if you want to improve your language proficiency score, you can take a complete IELTS preparation course to ensure you get your highest language score possible.
Many services can help you find a job in Canada, which can also improve your score.
However, if you want a dedicated professional to help you improve your CRS score, your best option is to utilize the services of an RCIC. An RCIC can evaluate you and give you tailored advice to improve your CRS score. Each application is different, and RCICs ensure that they give each one dedicated attention to ensure they get the best possible result from their application.
Learn more about how RCICs can help you here.
Score a Canadian Permanent Residency
Now that you have a good idea of how the CRS works, why it's essential, and how to maximize your CRS score to give you the best chances of becoming a Canadian permanent resident, it's time to start your journey. If you want your journey to begin in the best way possible, you should take advantage of the services of a certified immigration expert like an RCIC.
With the help of our dedicated RCICs, you're sure to be given the best chance of being selected. These knowledgeable professionals are experts on the different immigration policies and programs offered by the federal government. They assist you by giving you a complete evaluation, setting up your Express Entry profile, helping you gather the necessary documents and making decisions that will boost your score based on your specific skills and experience.