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Canadian Immigration / Express Entry / Immigration Q&A

What is the CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System)

The comprehensive ranking system (CRS) is the final step in an Express Entry application, prior to receiving an invitation to apply. The CRS seeks to ultimately assess a person’s chances of becoming economically established in Canada. The CRS is a points-based system, similar to the Federal Skilled Workers Class. Based on the amount of points you earn, the highest scoring candidates will receive an invitation to apply as permanent residents.

Who are part of the CRS?

All applicants under the Express Entry who succeed with their respective classes go into the CRS pool. This includes applicants who were categorized under the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class, and Canadian Experience Class. All applicants will be assessed in the same way according to CRS criteria.

What are the CRS criteria?

The primary criteria are the applicant’s respective age, level of education, language proficiency in English or French (or both), and work experience (foreign or Canadian). Note that for these criteria, the assessment system varies depending on whether you have a spouse or common-law partner. For example, the maximum score for age that for a candidate without a spouse or common-law partner is 110. A candidate with a spouse or common-law partner may only earn up to 100. The 10 point difference can then be earned by that candidate’s spouse or partner through the same criteria.

Altogether, the above criteria constitute a maximum of 600 points. However, the total maximum that you can earn for the CRS is 1200 points. Just to give a general idea, I will give the minimum and maximum scores attainable for candidates without a spouse or common-law partner. Consult the government website for a more detailed breakdown.

Age (110 points)
  • Being 18 years old earns 99 points.
  • Being ages 20-29 earn the maximum points of 110, before steadily decreasing thereafter.
  • By age 44, you only earn 6 points, and candidates aged 45 or more earn no points.
Education (150 points)
  • Candidates with a high school diploma earn a minimum score of 30.
  • Candidates with a doctoral level university degree (i.e. Ph.D.) earn the maximum score of 150.
Language Proficiency (160 points)

There are four language proficiency abilities: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Recognized language tests (e.g. IELTS, CEPIP, TEF) give scores that can be converted into a CLB score.

First Official Language (subtotal 136)

  • A CLB score of 4 is needed to earn the minimum 6 points per ability.
  • A CLB score of 10 or higher is needed to earn the maximum of 34 points per ability in the first official language.

Second Official Language (subtotal 24 points)

  • A CLB score of 5 or 6 earns the minimum 1 point per ability.
  • A CLB score of 9 or higher earns the maximum 6 points per ability.

In total, a candidate may earn a maximum of 160 points assuming they have a high proficiency in both English and French.

Canadian Work Experience (80 points)
  • 1 year of Canadian Work Experience earns the minimum 40 points.
  • 5 years or more of Canadian Work Experience earns the maximum of 80 points.
Skill Transferability (100 points)

This is perhaps the most complicated part of the CRS. The reason for this complication is that it takes into account a combination of various factors before awarding points.

To start, the available points for the taking is 250 points. However, you stop earning points after earning the maximum of 100 points. So as not to be too confusing, I will only give a brief description of how to earn these points.

  1. High language proficiency and multiple education credentials earns a maximum of 50 points.
  2. Multiple years Canadian work experience and multiple educational credentials earns a maximum of 50 points.
  3. High language proficiency and multiple foreign work experience earns a maximum of 50 points.
  4. Multiple Canadian work experience and multiple foreign work experience earns a maximum of 50 points.
  5. High language proficiency and a certificate of qualification (for trade occupations) earns a maximum of 50 points.
Arranged Employment, Provincial or Territorial Nomination (600 points)

As I’ve mentioned, the above criteria make up only 600 out of a possible 1200 points in the CRS. Fully or partially earning points in this section rely on one of three factors: Having an arranged employment with a Canadian employer holding a positive LMIA is the first condition that could be met. Having studied and earned a Canadian post-secondary credential is the second. The last condition is having a provincial or territorial nomination. This may or may not include having arranged employment, depending on the program.

IMPORTANT: As of November 19, 2016, the IRCC has changed the scoring system for this section. Although PNP nominations will still earn applicants the full 600 points, those with arranged employment will no longer receive the full 600 points. Now, those with arranged employment in skilled NOC’s not under NOC 00, will only receive 50 points (200 points for those with NOC 00). Having post-secondary Canadian education may earn you up to 30 points (credentials 3 years or longer). This means a maximum possible score of 230 points for those without a PNP. nomination.

It’s important to note that earning 600 points can single-handedly ensure that you succeed in the CRS pool, and receive an invitation to apply. Having a PNP nomination (with the bare minimum of points elsewhere) means you will likely have more CRS points than anyone who doesn’t. Since there usually aren’t too many who have PNP nominations in the CRS pool, having a nomination could ensure your success. Still, it is important to remember that you must get through the prior stages of the Express Entry process before this advantage can be utilized.

For comments and questions, check out our forums and join the conversation.

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