Published by Gabriel Oliveira
on June 19, 2020

Comprehensive Ranking System - How it works

What is CRS?

CRS, or Comprehensive Ranking System is the system in place to give each Express Entry candidate a score.

Based on that score, IRCC (Canada's government organ responsible for immigration) invites people to apply for Permanent Residency every once in a while.

These are called Invitation Rounds (or draws), and they always select people with the biggest scores.

So the score you get from CRS will determine if you will be invited to apply for Permanent Residency, and how fast that will happen.

Yup, it is kind of a big deal :)

When do I get a score?

We can divide Express Entry into 3 main phases:

  1. Create your Express Entry Profile (and get a score)
  2. Receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), depending on your score
  3. Apply

By the time you finish phase 1 ("Create Express Entry Profile"), you will get a score based on the information you provided on your profile.

How is the score calculated?

The score is based on a combination of factors, like age, education, work experience, etc.

Each factor has a different weight on the final number. We won't go over the actual math behind it on this article, because it is easy to get lost on the numbers and lose track of what really matters. Instead, I'll try to explain the concept behind it - what has a bigger weight, what doesn't really count that much, that sort of thing.

If you do want to go deeper on the calculations, this IRCC web page, has all the minucia about it.

Ok, we are about to talk about what kind of factors will give you a good or bad score. While we go through it, keep these values in mind, just to have a reference:

For the Federal Skilled Worker program, 500 is a great score! 400 is a not bad, but not so good one. So you want to be somewhere between 450 and 500, if you are running on Federal Skilled Worker program.

I've recentely written an article that shows historical data on the invitations, with the minimum score you'd need for each draw. Take a look at the charts on that article. You'll see that (based on the past) if you have something between 450 and 500, you will likely be invited at some point.

While reading this article, keep in mind that this would be a (very) good score: 500

Let's go over the factors that influentiate your score. We'll start from the ones that might give you more points, and go down towards the one that won't give you that many.

Factor #1 - English Skills (or French!)

This is the one that will give you more points (except for job offer or provincial nomination - explained later).

There are 4 different language tests you can use to prove your skills. And you can pick between English or French.

All of these 4 tests are divided in four abilities: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. You will get one score for each of these abilities.

No matter which test you chose to do, your score for each ability will be converted into a single scoring scale, called Canadian Language Benchmark, or CLB.

Your CLB score for each ability will be something between 0 and 12. The higher you score, more points you get (duh!).

If you speak a bit of French too, you can do another test for it, and earn some extra points for speaking a second language. Or if you chose to do French in the firt place, now you can earn these extra points by doing another test for English. In those cases, you can earn up to 24 points for knowing a second official language.

Points you can get for Language Skills: 160

Factor #2 - Level of Education

"Skill" is the name of the game! After all, Canada is looking for skilled immigrants to boost its workforce. So it is fair that the level of education has a big impact on the final score.

The rule here is simple - the higher your education, more points you'll get - of course.

Here is a summarized table with how many points you get for each level of education:

Points for single Points for married
Less than High School 0 0
High School completed 30 28
One-year degree 90 84
Two-year degree 98 91
Three-year+ degree 120 112
Two or more degrees 128 119
Masters 135 126
Ph.D 150 140

For the full detailed table, go to IRCC CRS page.

Points you can get for Education Level: 150

Factor #3 - Age

Before we step into this one, a kind of advice: Don't take these factors or rules as some kind of prejudice. Don't go the "That's so unfair, I'm being impaired because of my age" route. Try to see it the same way IRCC (Canada Government immigration department) sees it. People at a certain age (relatively younger), single, etc. tend to adapt better to a new society. Among other factors. Also, keep in mind that immigration in Canada is not for charity. The country needs a boost on the workforce, so the selection criteria is meant to furfil that need.

That said, let's dive into the age factor.

Age is has a huge impact on the score. For an example, if you are on the "worst" ranges (younger than 17 years, or older than 45), you get zero points for it. On the other hand, if you are on the "best" ranges (20 to 29 years), you get 110 points! (if you are single)

Points you can get for age: 110

Factor #4 - Canadian Work Experience

This one is very straighforward too - the more experience you have working in Canada, the more points you get.

And you can get up to 80 points for it!

If you are asking yourself "how the heck will I have experience working there, if I don't even live there?", that is a very good question! And answer is simple, there are some visas that allow you to work temporarely there. And those jobs count as Canadian Experience.

Points you can get for having worked in Canada: 80

Factor #5 - Married or Single

You probably noticed by now that being married kind of reduce your points on the other factors.

Ok, so, if you are married, there are good news, and bad news.

Bad news first - You will automatically lose some points, just for being married. For an example: if you are 33 years old, you will get 88 points for your age. But if you are married, you only get 80. Depending on your case, that's not very nice to read, I know. But keep reading - it gets better :)

Now the good news - Your spouse might earn you some extra points as well. For an example, depending on his/her level of education, you might get up to 10 extra points. And depending on his/her English skills, you might get extra 20 points.

So is it good or bad to be married on this case?

Short answer? It depends.

It depends on how many points your spouse will bring to the table. If we look in details at the calculation rules, you can lose up to 40 points just for being married. But guess what? Your spouse can add the exact same 40 points, depending on things like her level of education or English skills.

Points you can lose for being married: 40
(you can recover those 40 points based on your spouse factors)

Note that a common-law partner in this case is considered marriage. Also, if you are married to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you will earn points as if you were single.

Other factors

We already talked about the main factors - the ones that are more likely to earn you biggest ammount of points.

But there are some "extra" ones! Here is a summarized list of some of those:

Job Offer and Provincial Nomination

If you have a job offer in hands, that will give you 200 points, which will probably be enough to put you in a very good position to be selected.

Same happens if you are nominated by a province under one of the Province Nomination Programs. In that case you get 600 points!

Because these are not common at all, when comparing to the vast majority of candidates, we won't go into details here.

Doesn't work experience on my country count?

Yes, it does, but not really that much. This is how it works:

You can get up to 50 points for your foreign work experince. And that's only if you have a good score on the Language exams.

Also, you can get other 50 points for your work experience, if you also have Canadian work experience.

So, it's not really a game-changer, as you can see.

Important to mention that for the Federal Skilled Worker program, for an example, work experience is a pre-requisite, which means you won't even be able to enter the Express Entry pool without it.

That said, your local work experience is important, because you won't even be eligible for Express Entry without it (at least not for the Federal Skilled Worker program). But once you are on the pool, it doesn't really boost your score.

Check out more details about it on IRCC CRS page.

How can I see how many points I would have?

IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) provides an online tool that can calculate your CRS score based on a few answers.


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