Canada's Express Entry System was designed in 2015 by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as an initiative to help skilled working individuals from countries worldwide immigrate to Canada hassle-free to serve the purpose of building Canada’s ever-growing and evolving economy. The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is a point-based system created to support this initiative and ensure that the process to do so is simplified and easy for anyone by assessing and scoring every foreign national's profile submitted to the Express Entry system.
This system uses the CRS score as a medium to score candidates that apply through one of the federal government’s skilled worker programs. These programs are all designed to meet in-demand occupations. This points-based system assists the Canadian government to select the best candidates to live and work in their country.
The Express Entry system is one of the most popular and effective processes, including many different immigration programs that cater to people from all walks of life.
What is the Comprehensive Ranking System For?
With their focus on immigration and the prospective future of the country, the Canadian government plans to welcome over 1.4 million people that can contribute to the economy over the next two years. Through the Express Entry System, their target for 2023 to 2025 is as follows:
- 2023 - 82,880
- 2024 - 109,020
- 2025 - 114,000
Falling under the Express Entry system, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is easy to understand. Applying through an Express Entry system involves applying through one of the three Federal Economic Immigration programs:
- the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
- the Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
To apply, you must create an online profile allowing the Express Entry system to score your application, determining your eligibility for an Invitation to Apply (ITA). When creating your Express Entry profile, you will fill in details like your:
- Education qualifications
- Work experience
- Language skills (English and/ or French)
- Job offers (if any)
- Connections to Canada
These details will then be evaluated below, and you will receive your CRS score. All applicants' CRS scores are then entered into the Express Entry pool. Every two weeks, the IRCC hosts an Express Entry draw, where all applicants with scores higher than the IRCC's designated number receive an ITA.
Scoring high enough to be issued an ITA is like getting a golden ticket that secures your entry to Canada. If you receive one, you can accept or decline it within 60 days. If you accept it, you will receive your visa and be able to move to Canada permanently. If you fail to accept it in the given period, your application will not be successful.
The Canadian government has worked hard to ensure that the immigration system is fair and allows everybody an opportunity to apply to live and work in Canada. Since every application needs to score certain points to be eligible for issuing an ITA, you can apply for a visa as many times as you like. With the Express Entry draw every two weeks, you don’t have to wait too long to apply again. When you apply, however, your score should preferably have increased for a better chance for your application to be successful.
How the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Scores Applicants
The CRS aims to evaluate an applicant's ability to effectively contribute to the needs of the Canadian economy and the likelihood of that applicant remaining in Canada's workforce for as long as possible. Applicants are scored out of 1200 and rank on the Comprehensive Ranking System based on four primary factors:
- Human Capital Factors
- Skill Transferability
- Spouse or Common-law partner
- Additional Factors
If you score higher on the Comprehensive Ranking System, your chances of gaining permanent residency in Canada will increase. The maximum number of points you can score is 1,200, of which 600 points are core points, and 600 are additional points.
CRS Core Points consist of the following:
- Skills and work experience
- Spouse or common-law partner’s credentials and factors, including age, language skills, education, etc.
- Skills transferability
Additional Points consist of the following:
- Canadian qualifications (degrees, diplomas, or certificates)
- Valid job offer(s)
- Provincial Nomination from a province or territory
- Strong French language skills
- A sibling that lives in Canada or is a permanent resident
Total points you can score under four main categories
|SECTION A - Core/Human Capital|
|Criteria||Maximum Points With Spouse||Maximum Points Without Spouse|
|Language Skills (English/French)||150||160|
|Canadian Work Experience||70||80|
|SECTION B - Spouse or Common-Law Partner|
|Language Skills (English/French)||20|
|Canadian Work Experience||10|
|SECTION C - Skills Transferability|
|Language Skills (English/French) + Education||50|
|Canadian Work Experience + Education||50|
|Foreign Work Experience||Maximum Points|
|Language Skills (English/French) + Foreign Work Experience||50|
|Foreign Work Experience + Canadian Work Experience||50|
|Certificate of Qualification (Trades)||Maximum Points|
|Language Skills (English/French) + Education Certificate||50|
|SECTION D - Additional Points|
|Brother and Sister Living in Canada||15|
|French Language Skills||30|
|Post-Secondary Canadian Education||30|
Making sense of the CRS can be daunting and confusing. To help you make sense of the system, figure out where you stand, and help you maximize your CRS score, we highly recommend utilizing the services of a Canadian immigration professional like a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC).
How to Calculate Your CRS Score
Several online tools are available to calculate your CRS score for Express Entry in Canada. One of the best is our free CRS calculator, which can help give you a solid idea of your CRS score.
To know your exact CRS score, you must have your language test results and Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) if your degree is not Canadian. Without these, you can still try and see how many CRS points you can claim for other factors. However, having these results will give you a more accurate CRS score. It is also important to make sure that your CRS score is above the minimum points score of your round of invitations.
Improving Your CRS Score
If you're unsure your score is high enough to qualify for an ITA, there are several things you can do to improve your CRS score. Here are some of the best ways to do so:
Possible Changes to the CRS in 2023
The Canadian government has proposed changes to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) in 2023. While these changes are not currently in place, they may come into effect before the end of the year. Some of the changes are as follows:
The CRS will be the only factor determining who is eligible for an ITA for Canadian permanent residency. Instead, the IRCC will introduce targeted Express Entry draws to assess who is eligible for an ITA.
The Canadian government will focus on issuing ITAs for PR to candidates with a combination of education and relevant job experience in in-demand occupations. The Express Entry points system is likely to change. The system awards points for age, education, work experience, and language ability. These are all important factors in determining whether someone will succeed in Canada.
Canada aims to welcome 465,000 new immigrants in 2023. The target will rise to 485,000 new immigrants in 2024 and to 500,000 new immigrants in 2025. You can learn more about Canada's immigration targets here. Express Entry will be an essential tool in addressing these shortages and filling in-demand roles in the sectors facing the most severe shortages.
Learn more about the potential changes to the CRS here.
What is the Lowest CRS Score That Has Been Invited to Apply for Permanent Residence in Canada through Express Entry?
At the time of writing, the CRS cut-off score was 483 in the latest draw. You can keep up to date with the latest Express Entry draw results here.
How Often Does the Government of Canada Hold an Express Entry Draw?
The Government of Canada holds an Express Entry draw approximately every two weeks, with CRS requirements changing per draw.
What Happens Once I Get an ITA?
Once you get an ITA, you have 60 days to submit all supporting documents, pay your application fees and apply for Canadian permanent residency. You can learn more about how to do this through the Express Entry system here.
Move to Canada the Express Way
To improve your CRS score, there are several factors that you can work on to earn more points under the Comprehensive Ranking System. With the opportunity to improve, it’s no doubt that you will reach that magic number to get you an ITA, accept it, and receive eligibility status to move to Canada finally.
One of the best ways to do this is to utilize the services of a certified immigration professional like an RCIC who can give you a full evaluation to not only help you determine your CRS score in the most accurate way possible but also help you formulate strategies to maximize your chances of being selected for an ITA. On top of that, most experts will also help you with your entire Express Entry process, from creating your online profiles and filling out your forms, to monitoring your application as its being processed to help you make your move to Canada as quickly and easily as possible.