Changes to the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System

As of June 6, 2017, candidates in the Express Entry pool who have a sibling in Canada may obtain additional points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Another change involves additional points being awarded to candidates with proven French ability. These improvements to the Express Entry are the latest to come from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), with a more dynamic Express Entry system now the driver of economic immigration to Canada.  

These changes were announced earlier this year in March but have only been implemented this week, are not as far-reaching as the improvements made to the system in November last year. Back then, the IRCC changed the number of CRS points awarded for a qualifying job offer from 600 to 50 or 200 points, depending on the position offered. In addition to that, candidates who had completed a study program in Canada were awarded additional points for the first time. 

Who is affected by these changes?

Unlike the changes introduced in November, this time candidates will not see a reduction in their CRS points total as a direct result of the changes introduced on June 6. Many of the candidates will return their existing score, while some candidates, especially those with a sibling in Canada and/or proven French ability may obtain a boost in their score.

As much as each CRS point may be valuable to a candidate, it should be noted that some of the other additional factors that currently exist are worth significantly more points than the new factors being introduced. Candidates with a sibling in Canada may obtain 15 additional points, and candidates with French ability may obtain either 15 or 30 points, while candidates with a qualifying job offer obtain either 50 or 200 points and candidates with a provincial nomination obtain 600 points. The latter factor is the single most important factor in the system. 

Speaking about these changes to the system, Canada’s Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen was quoted as saying “Economic immigration programs managed by the Express Entry system attract highly talented and skilled immigrants that businesses need to help grow and strengthen the economy. 

“As the improvements are implemented, I’m pleased that Canada will welcome more skilled immigrants with siblings in Canada who can help them quickly integrate into their new life here, and that we’ll continue to see Francophone minority communities flourish.”

The CRS system is dynamic, meaning many candidates will not be directly affected by the latest changes, the introduction of the new additional factors as of June 6 will to a certain degree, change the general make-p of the pool. In that sense, the changes affect more than just those candidates who obtained additional points, as even candidates who did not see a change in their score may experience a change in their ranking. 

Siblings, and what are the requirements to obtain these points

The IRCC says, ‘having a sibling in Canada has been shown to improve health and social outcomes by accelerating a newcomer’s integration into their life in Canada.’ 

Candidates in the Express Entry pool with a sibling in Canada may be awarded 15 additional CRS points if the sibling is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and at least 18 years of age. Up to 15 points in total, not 15 points per sibling. 

These points may also be awarded if the candidate’s spouse or common-law partner has a sibling in Canada. The candidate or his or her spouse/common-law partner must share a mother and/or father with the sibling in Canada. This relationship can be through blood, adoption, marriage, or common-law partnership.

Language proficiency

Individuals who wish to enter the Express Entry pool are first required to take a language test recognized by the government of Canada in English and/or French. Of the 1,200 points available in total under the CRS, 136 points may be awarded for a candidate’s ability in the first language, with a further 24 available for ability in a second language. Up to 100 more points are available for a candidate’s language skills within the combination of factors.

In addition to that, as of June 6 candidates with French ability are able to obtain even more points. A total of 15 additional points will be awarded to candidates who prove adequate intermediate or better French and English language ability. Candidates who prove adequate skills in French and English language ability may obtain additional 30 points.