Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Explained

In 2015, Canada introduced the new Express Entry system for processing applications to most federal economic immigration programs.

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Canada’s Express Entry immigration selection system uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to rank and choose individuals who are eligible to immigrate to Canada under three federal economic immigration programs.

When Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) performs an Express Entry draw from this pool of candidates, the top-ranked candidates receive an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

These draws occur regularly, approximately once every two weeks. The Comprehensive Ranking System may be a dynamic, competitive system — the more points you accumulate, the more likely it is for you to be invited to apply.

Before being assigned a Comprehensive Ranking System score, individuals must first be eligible under one among the subsequent programs:

  • Federal skilled worker Class
  • Federal Skilled Trades Class
  • Canadian Experience Class

Candidates within the pool are assigned a Comprehensive Ranking System score out of 1,200.

For single applicants without a spouse or common-law partner, there are:

  • Up to 500 points available for core human capital factors, including age, level of education, language ability, and Canadian work experience;
  • Up to 100 points available for skill transferability factors; and
  • Up to 600 points available for extra factors (including a provincial nomination, a legitimate job offer, Canadian study experience, a sibling in Canada, and/or French language ability).

For candidates with an accompanying spouse or common-law partner, there are:

  • Up to 460 points available for core human capital factors of the principal applicant;
  • Up to 40 points for the core human capital factors of the spouse or common-law partner;
  • Up to 100 points available for skill transferability factors; and
  • Up to 600 points available for extra factors.

Under the 2020-2022 Canada Immigration Levels Plan, the amount of latest permanent residents admitted through Express Entry over the approaching years is set to extend.

Comprehensive Ranking System points factors

Human Capital Factors

  • Age
  • Education Level
  • First language ability
  • Second language ability
  • Canadian work experience

Age

Single candidates could also be awarded up to 110 points for age for his or her Comprehensive Ranking System score. Candidates with a spouse or partner may receive up to 100 points.

Age (in years)Single candidateWith an accompanying spouse/partner
under 180 points0 points
189990
1910595
20-29110100
3010595
319990
329485
338880
348375
357770
367265
376660
386155
395550
405045
413935
422825
431715
4465
45 or older00

 Education Level

Up to 150 points are available for the level of education.

Level of educationSingle candidateWith an accompanying spouse/partner 
Less than secondary (high) school credential0 points0 points
Secondary school credential3028 for PA; 2 for spouse
One-year post-secondary program9084 for PA; 6 for spouse
Two-year post-secondary program9891 for PA; 7 for spouse
Post-secondary program of 3 or more years120112 for PA; 8 for spouse
Two or more post-secondary programs, of which at least one was completed after a post-secondary program of three or more years128119 for PA; 9 for spouse
Master’s or entry-to-practice professional degree135126 for PA; 10 for spouse
Doctoral Degree (PhD)150140 for PA; 10 for spouse

First Language Ability (English or French)

Comprehensive Ranking System points highlighted in this chart are for every language ability: speaking, writing, reading and listening.

Therefore, one candidate may receive up to 136 points (34×4); a candidate with an accompanying spouse or partner may receive up to 148 points (32×4 plus 5×4).

Points for language are awarded as long as a candidate completes an approved language test. The points are yardsticks from the Canadian Language Benchmark levels (CLBs).

Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)Single candidateWith an accompanying spouse/partner
For each language ability34 points32 points for PA; 5 points for spouse
CLB 3 or lower00
CLB 466 for PA; 0 for spouse
CLB 566 for PA; 1 for spouse
CLB 698 for PA; 1 for spouse
CLB 71716 for PA; 3 for spouse
CLB 82322 for PA; 3 for spouse
CLB 93129 for PA; 5 for spouse
CLB 10 or higher3432 for PA; 5 for spouse

Second Language Ability (English or French)

The points from this chart are for every language ability: speaking, writing, reading and listening.

Up to 24 points are available for one candidate’s second language ability. Candidates with a spouse/partner “max out” their points for second language ability at 22 points, regardless of if they get results of CLB 9 or higher altogether abilities. The spouse/partner is merely assessed under his or her mother tongue (first language).

Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB)Single candidateWith an accompanying spouse/partner (up to 22 points only)
For each language ability66
CLB 4 or lower00
CLB 5 or 611
CLB 7 or 833
CLB 9 or higher66

Canadian Work Experience within the Comprehensive Ranking System

Up to 100 points are available for Canadian work experience, making it an important part of the Comprehensive Ranking System for Express Entry.

Number of yearsSingle candidateWith an accompanying spouse/partner
Less than 10 points0 points
1 year4035 for PA; 5 for spouse
2 years5346 for PA; 7 for spouse
3 years6456 for PA; 8 for spouse
4 years7263 for PA; 9 for spouse
5 years or more8070 for PA; 10 for spouse

Skill Transferability Factors

Also referred to as combination factors, these points are awarded when a candidate performs well in two areas. Up to 50 points are available for every combination of two factors, with an overall cap of 100 points from among the five combinations. No points are available for the skill transferability of a candidate’s spouse or common-law partner, if applicable.

Education and Canadian Work Experience

Education1 year of Canadian work experience2 or more years of Canadian work experience
No post-secondary education00
Post-secondary education of 1 year or longer1325
Two or more post-secondary credentials, the first of which was 3 or more years in duration2550

Education and Language Ability

EducationCLB 7 or higher on all language abilities, with at least one of these CLB 8CLB 9 or higher for all language abilities
No post-secondary education00
Post-secondary education of 1 year or longer1325
Two or more post-secondary credentials,2550
the first of which was 3 or more years in duration

Language Ability and Non-Canadian Work Experience

Non-Canadian Work ExperienceCLB 7 or higher on all language abilities, with at least one of these CLB 8CLB 9 or higher for all language abilities
No non-Canadian work experience00
1 or 2 years of non-Canadian work experience1325
3 or more years of non-Canadian work experience2550

Canadian and non-Canadian Work Experience

Experience1 year of Canadian work experience2 or more years of Canadian work experience
No non-Canadian work experience00
1 or 2 years of non-Canadian work experience1325
3 or more years of non-Canadian work experience2550

Certificate of Qualification in a Trade and Language Ability

Certificate of QualificationCLB 5 or higher on all language abilities, with at least one CLB 5 or 6CLB 7 or higher on all language abilities
Certificate of qualification in a trade occupation issued by a province2550

Additional Factors

The maximum available number of points for these additional factors for each candidate is 600 points.

FactorPoints
Provincial nomination obtained under an Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) stream/category600
Qualifying job offer in Senior Management occupation under Major Group 00 of the National Occupational Classification (NOC)*200
Qualifying job offer in other skilled occupation (NOC 0, A or B level)*50
Completed one-year or two-year study program in Canada15
Completed three-year/Master’s/entry to practice professional degree or Doctorate (PhD) in Canada30
French ability of CLB 7 or better AND English ability of CLB 4 or worse (or no English test result at all)25
French ability of CLB 7 or better AND English ability of CLB 5 or better50
Sibling in Canada**15

*Until November 2016, it had been the case that a positive LMIA had to accompany this job offer so as for Comprehensive Ranking System points to be awarded.

However, coupled with LMIA-based offers, it’s now possible for a certain set of foreign workers in Canada to get Comprehensive Ranking System points without an LMIA.

The following table shows which foreign workers in Canada could also be ready to obtain points for employment offer without an LMIA.

May receive pointsMust also obtain an LMIA
NAFTAInternational Experience Canada (IEC)
Intra-Company TransferPost-Graduation Work Permits
LMIA-based Work PermitsWork Permits issued to Spouses/Common-Law Partners of foreign workers and international students in Canada
Canada-Provincial/Territorial issued Work PermitsAll other Open Work Permits

Other Work Permits issued under the many benefit to Canada initiative

** Candidates with a sibling in Canada could also be awarded 15 points if the sibling is already a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and is aged a minimum of 18 years.

Up to fifteen points only could also be awarded for this factor; candidates with over one sibling in Canada are going to be awarded 15 points in total, not 15 points per sibling.

These points can also be awarded if the candidate’s spouse or common-law partner features 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 is often through blood, adoption, marriage, or common-law partnership.

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