How the Canada Immigration Points System Works

August 11, 2023


  • Shireen Fisher

Thousands of talented people from all over the world move to Canada every month, most of whom apply for permanent residency through the Express Entry system. The Express Entry system is a points-based system that measures which applicants are best suited not only to help fill Canada's decreasing labor pool but also help select candidates most likely to integrate easily into Canadian society. Candidates are weighted up against others based on several factors. Learn more about how the Canada Immigration Points system works.


What is the Comprehensive Ranking System?

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), or Canada's immigration points system, is used by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to evaluate which Express Entry draw candidates are best suited for the program. It determines who should be invited to apply for Canadian permanent residency.

Express Entry applicants create a profile and are assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Age,
  • Education;
  • Language ability;
  • Work experience; and
  • Other factors

You will be given points in various categories, and your points will then be totaled to give you your CRS score.

Which Programs Use the Points System?

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) ranks applicants that apply through any of Canada's three Express Entry immigration programs:

How Are CRS Points Calculated?

When you apply for permanent residence through Canada's Express Entry system, you'll have the chance to score a maximum of 1,200 CRS points from two main categories:

  • Core points = 600 points; and
  • Additional points = 600 points

Core CRS Points

You get Core CRS points for:

  • Skills and experience factors
  • Spouse or common-law partner factors
  • Skills transferability, for example, education and work experience.

Additional CRS Points

You will get additional CRS points for:

  • Canadian degrees, diplomas or certificates;
  • A valid job offer;
  • A nomination from a province or territory;
  • A brother or sister living in Canada (citizen or permanent resident;
  • Strong French language skills.

Core Points + Additional Points Make Up Your Total Score

Below is a breakdown of the maximum amount of points you could stand to earn.

SECTION A - Core/Human Capital
Criteria Maximum Points With Spouse Maximum Points Without Spouse
Age 100 110
Education 140 150
Language Skills(English/French) 150 160
Canadian Work Experience 70 80
SECTION B - Spouse or Common-Law Partner
Criteria Maximum Points
Education 10
Language Skills(English/French) 20
Canadian Work Experience 10
SECTION C - Skills Transferability
Education Maximum Points
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
Criteria Maximum Points
Brother and Sister Living in Canada 15
French Language Skills 50
Post-Secondary Canadian Education 30
Arranged employment - TEER 0 Major group 0 200
Provincial Nomination 600

Top Ways to Increase Your CRS Score

Canada's Express Entry draws are competitive. Let's take a look at some easy ways to improve your CRS score and your chances to move to Canada through the Express Entry system.

Improve Your Language Test Scores

This is probably one of the fastest and simplest ways to increase your CRS score. You can do this by either learning a new language or retaking your language test. The highest Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level is CLB 9, so if you've scored anything less, there's always room to claim extra points. If you are fluent in English and learn French as your second language, you could earn an extra 24 points if you apply alone and 22 with your spouse or partner.

Increase Work Experience

If you are applying for your Canadian visa from outside Canada and have three years of work experience or less, you may want to consider gaining an extra year or two to claim more skills transferability points. If you have Canadian work experience, you can claim more CRS points for Canadian work experience. If possible, try to have at least five or more years of work experience.

Get a Provincial Nomination (PN)

Provincial Nominations (PNs) are highly sought after as it comes with an incredible 600 extra CRS points. This, however, does not mean that you should relax if you think you could be eligible for a PN. You could earn 100 points by being 20-29 years old with a three-year qualification, worth an additional 112 to 120 points. Now add that score for your age to your 600 PN points, and you'll be well on your way to living a great new life in Canada!

Complete Another Qualification

This is not the quickest way to increase your CRS score. Still, it will increase your chances of getting permanent residency nonetheless. You'll be able to earn more human capital points with a higher qualification and more skills transferability points. It is a win-win, and you get to learn new skills!

Get a Job Offer in Canada

Getting a job in Canada before you relocate will not only help you gain more Canada immigration points but will also help you. It will have to be a full-time continuous paid employment offer for at least one year, and your employer will need the offer in writing. By having a valid job offer in Canada, you will not only make things easier for yourself once you arrive, but you will be able to add up to 200 CRS points to your score!

Apply with Your Loved Ones

Did you know that having a brother or sister living in Canada, as a citizen or permanent residency automatically increases your chances of success? You could claim extra points, but you will have to be able to provide proof of your relationship, for example, a birth certificate. Planning on moving to Canada as a couple? Why not submit your Canada immigration application forms together? You could earn up to 20 points for your language skills, 10 points if you or your partner or spouse has Canadian work experience, as well as another 10 points each for your education qualification, which adds up to 40 extra CRS points!


How Can I Get an Idea of What My CRS Score Would be?

Try to find a CRS Calculator to get an estimate.

How Long Does Express Entry Take to Process?

As the quickest pathway to Canada, successful Express Entry applications take six months to process. However, these do vary depending on which program you apply through. Learn more about Canadian visa processing times.