Entry criteria and the Comprehensive Ranking System

The Express Entry system is creating a pool of candidates for immigration to Canada. Candidates are assessed based on a number of criteria, and the highest ranking candidates will be invited to apply to immigrate to Canada.

There are requirements not only to get into the pool, but also to be chosen from it.

Pool entry criteria

To get into the Express Entry pool, skilled foreign nationals will need to meet the criteria of one of the federal immigration programs subject to Express Entry:

You can read about the minimum criteria of any of these programs by using the above links. Or, you can use our online tool, Come to Canada, to see if you meet the criteria to get into the Express Entry pool.

Comprehensive Ranking System

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is a points-based system that is used to assess and score a candidate’s profile to rank them in the Express Entry pool.

The CRS will assess the profile information candidates submit, including:

  • skills,
  • work experience,
  • language ability,
  • education and other factors.

We have found these factors all play a role in economic success for immigrants once in Canada. Additional points will be awarded for candidates who have a job offer or a nomination by one of Canada’s provinces or territories under their provincial nominee programs.

CIC will issue an Invitation to Apply to the highest ranking candidates from the pool through regular “rounds of invitations” so they can apply to immigrate as a permanent resident.

A goal of Express Entry is to ensure strong links between economic immigration and the Canadian labour market. For that reason, qualified candidates who also have a job offer will get enough points to ensure they are ranked high enough to get an invitation to apply.

An employer will need to ensure the job offer is supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment. This process ensures they have first tried to find Canadians to fill job openings.

Similarly, a nomination by a province or territory, will give a candidate additional points to rank high enough to be invited to apply at the next eligible round of invitations.

Comprehensive Ranking System formula

All Express Entry candidates will be given a score out of 1,200, based on the four parts of the Comprehensive Ranking System formula:

  • Skills and experience factors (that we know are key to economic success for immigrants once in Canada)
  • Spouse or common-law partner factors (such as their language skills and education – these are known to result in better economic success for both the spouse or common-law partner and the candidate)
  • Skills transferability (including education and work experience – factors that when combined, result in better chances of being employed, and higher earnings)
  • Additional points for those with a nomination from a province or territory or a valid job offer
A. Single candidates B. Candidates spouses or common-law partners that will come with them to Canada
(The maximum number of points is the same no matter the person’s marital status.)

1. Skills and experience factors (maximum 500)

1. Skills and experience factors (maximum 460)

2. N/A

2. Spouse or common-law partner factors (maximum 40)

3. Skill transferability factors (maximum 100)

3. Skill transferability factors (maximum 100)

4. Additional points (maximum 600)

4. Additional points (maximum 600)

Grand total (maximum 1,200) Grand total (maximum 1,200)

See the full Comprehensive Ranking System criteria.

Top questions about Express Entry

Video - How Express Entry works

Express Entry: Canada potential candidates
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