How the Canada Immigration Points System Works

MAR 19, 2021



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 to not only help fill Canada’s decreasing labour pool but also help to select candidates that are most likely to integrate easily into Canadian society. Candidates are weighted up against others based on factors such as their age, language proficiency in English and/or French, education, work experience (if any) as well as other adaptability factors.

Based on the 2019 Express Entry draw report, the Express Entry system has seen continued growth in the last few years but only 72% of all Express Entry applicants were found to be eligible. That’s a total of 93,216 Express Entry applicants that never made it into the draw pool. The report also revealed that almost two-thirds of Express Entry applicants did not claim any additional points (69%). Most candidates scored between 350 and 399 CRS scores in 2019 when the average CRS cut-off score was 461.

Although many are aware of the basic factors, many miss out on gaining these extra points, which could cost them their chances to receive an Invitation to Apply(ITA) for permanent residence in Canada. So let's take a closer look at Canada’s Immigration points system and how it works so that you can achieve your highest score possible and increase your chances of moving to Canada.

What is the Comprehensive Ranking System?

 man-in-suit-holding-what-s-your-score-board | Canada immigration points system The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) or Canada’s immigration points system is the way in which Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) evaluates which Express Entry draw candidates are best suited for the program and determine who should be invited to apply for permanent residency status. Express Entry applicants create a profile and are assessed based on the following criteria:
  • skills;
  • education;
  • language ability;
  • work experience; and
  • other factors.
You will be given points in various categories and your points will then be totalled to give you your CRS score.

Which programs use the points system?

As mentioned previously, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) ranks applicants that apply through any of Canada’s three Express Entry immigration programs:
  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program;
  • The Federal Skilled Trade Program; or
  • The Canada Experience Class.
Because each program is designed to help immigrants of different skill levels, each program has its own set of requirements that must be met to qualify. The Federal Skilled Worker Program, which works on a different scoring system to the CRS, requires that you score at least 67 out of a maximum 100 points in order to qualify. Once this has been established your points will be scored and calculated according to the CRS.

How Are CRS Points Calculated?

married-woman-wearing-wedding-ring-using-calculator-holding-phone | Canadian immigration points system
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

Core CRS points are received for:
    1. Skills and experience factors
    2. Spouse or common-law partner factors eg. language skills and education; and
    3. Skills transferability eg. education and work experience.

Additional CRS Points

Additional CRS points are received for:
      1. Canadian degrees, diplomas or certificates;
      2. A valid job offer;
      3. A nomination from a province or territory;
      4. A brother or sister living in Canada (citizen or permanent resident.
      5. Strong French language skills.


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 30
Post-Secondary Canadian Education 30
Arranged Employment 200
Provincial Nomination 600
The average cut-off score is around 461 points, which means that if you score 461 or higher you have a good chance of receiving an ITA. But at MDC we believe in optimising your chances and not just doing the bare minimum and hoping to be successful. So let's take a look at some ways that you can improve your chances by improving your CRS score.

Top Ways to Increase Your CRS Score

CRS Score Infographic | Canada Express Entry draw
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.

1. 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’re applying alone and 22 with your spouse or partner.

2. Increase Work Experience

If you’re 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 so that you can claim more skills transferability points and if you have Candian work experience you’ll be able to claim more CRS points for Canadian work experience. Try to have at least five or more years of work experience if possible.

3. Get a Provincial Nomination (PN)

Provincial Nominations (PNs) are highly sought after as it comes with an incredible 600 extra CRS points and since the average CRS cut off score in 2020 is 551 (up from 461 in 2019), you’d already have much more points than you need to be successful. This however does not mean that you should relax if you think you could be eligible for a PN. You could easily earn 100 points just by being 20-29 years old with a three-year qualification, which is worth an additional 112 to 120 points. Now add just 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!

4. Complete Another Qualification

This is definitely not the quickest way to increase your CRS score but it will increase your chances to get permanent residency nonetheless. You’ll be able to earn more human capital points with a higher qualification as well as more skills transferability points. It’s a win-win and you get to learn new skills!

5. 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 you will need the offer in writing from your employer. By having a valid job offer in Canada you will not only make things easier for yourself once you arrive but you’ll be able to add up to 200 CRS points to your score!

6. Apply with Your Loved Ones

Did you know that having a brother or sister who is living in Canada, as a citizen or permanent residency, automatically increases your chances of success? You could claim an extra 15 points but you’ll 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 have Canadian work experience, as well as another 10 points each for your education qualification which adds up to 40 extra CRS points!

Rest Assured Knowing Your Application Is In Good Hands

smiling-african-american-women-looking-at-computer-with-other-people | Canada Immigration CRS points
Immigration to Canada can be both complex and confusing. By using our accredited Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) you will not only optimize your chances of success when you apply for your Canada visa, but you will receive expert advice on which program is best for your personal needs. Our RCICs are registered with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) and are legally permitted to assist you by evaluating your eligibility, reviewing all documentation and submitting it to the Canadian government on your behalf.

Don't risk your chances to move to Canada from India. Let us make sure that all forms are completed correctly and sent in on time. Simply fill out our application form to receive your assessment today and take one step closer to the life you’ve always dreamt of in Canada.