Canada has become one of the preferred destinations for individuals to apply for permanent residency in recent years. Ever since the Canadian Immigration authorities introduced the Express Entry Visa Program for immigration, there has been a rising number of applications for migrating to the Land of Maple Leaf each year.

Known as a top-choice destination for its high-quality education, cultural diversity, and promising career prospects, Canada in its pursuit to streamline the entry of skilled workers within the country, has deployed the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) within its Express Entry Immigration program.

The below article will elaborate on the details regarding this CRS system and how one can understand their CRS report for a better transition to their dreamland.

What is Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS): An Overview

Introduced in the year 2015, Canada’s Express Entry system aims to promote the migration of skilled workforce to the country. However, in order to identify individuals who are best suited for success within the Canadian landscape, the Immigration Authorities in Canada make use of the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) which automatically evaluates the candidates, their spouses or legal partners, and other members of the family, based on different eligibility criteria. These include and are not limited to factors such as age, educational qualifications, language proficiency, professional experience, and any employment contract established within Canada or not.

Based on these factors all the applicants that apply for immigration to Canada are then assigned a CRS Score, the report of which needs to be submitted within the IRCC portal for further validation and assessment.

Based on all the contributing factors, if a candidate is deemed to be eligible based on their, the Canadian government then extends the Permanent Residency invitations. These invites are usually extended to candidates who hold the highest CRS Scores within the applicant pool.

Understanding the CRS Factors

The below points elaborate on the key considerations that make up a candidate’s CRS Scores and how these scores impact their eligibility for permanent residency in Canada. A total of 1200 points can be earned by an individual within the Comprehensive Ranking System. Based on the same, the breakdown of the points can be categorized into three major categories namely –

Core Human Capital Factors

Skill Transferability Factors

Additional Factors   

Core Human Capital Factors:

These fundamental factors form the bedrock of an applicant’s CRS score, encompassing elements like age, education, language proficiency, and work experience. Depending on whether the applicant has a spouse or not, the maximum points available in this category are either 500 [without a spouse accompanying you] or 460 [with a spouse accompanying you].

Below is a list of categories under the Core Human Capital Factors for your further reference –

1. Age (in years): The age factor can significantly influence the CRS score, with maximum points awarded to candidates in their prime working years which is considered to be between 20-29 years. The maximum points awarded during this time without a spouse accompanying the candidate equals 110, which are the highest points that can be achieved in this category, or 100 points if one is being accompanied by a spouse. Please also note that if the candidate and their spouse are 45 years of age and above, then there are no points awarded in this category.

2. Level of education: The level of education plays a pivotal role in a candidate’s CRS score, with higher levels of education earning them more points. To understand this, please note that the maximum points available for this for a primary applicant are 140 while that for an accompanying spouse is 10. For an individual without a spouse, the total sums up to 150 directly, which equals the maximum points achievable for this category. 

While there are no points awarded if both the applicant and their spouse have an education level less than secondary education, they and/or their spouse can earn a maximum total of 150 points if the individual/both hold a doctoral degree or above, which is the highest achievable educational qualification in this category.

3. Language Ability (English or French): Proficiency in English or French is a key determinant. Points are assigned based on one’s proficiency level in each language ability.

In the case of showcasing, one’s first language ability in French or English with a CLB score of 3 or lower, no points are awarded on the CRS, while for a CLB Score of 10 or higher the maximum points are granted to the applicant and/or their spouse. If the candidate has an accompanying spouse, then the primary applicant can receive a total of 128 points maximum under this category while their spouse receives 20 points for their proficiency in a given language. Without an accompanying spouse, the total maximum points achievable by a candidate equals 136.

Also note that in case one is proving his/her language ability in a second language, the maximum achievable points with an accompanying spouse equals 22, while that without a legal partner equals 24. Moreover, proficiency below CLB Level 4 fetches zero points in either case, while that of 9 or higher has the maximum score granted.  

4. Canadian Work Experience: The number of years of work experience in Canada is a significant factor, as it reflects one’s ability to contribute to the Canadian job market. Please make a note that in case an applicant is applying with a spouse, 70 points are awarded to the primary applicant, while 10 points are given to the spouse based on their level of Canadian work experience. Without an accompanying spouse, the maximum points one can earn equals 80. In either case, maximum points are only awarded when an applicant and their spouse have 5 years or more of Canadian work experience available with them.  

Skill Transferability Factors:

These factors evaluate a candidate’s adaptability, including their education, Canadian work experience, and language proficiency. The maximum points available in this category are 100.

There are five different combinations to earn points for transferring skills, and each combination can give an applicant a maximum of 50 points.

Please note, however, that even if an applicant scores more than 100 points in total, they'll only receive 100 points in the Comprehensive Ranking System.

Also, it doesn't matter if the primary applicant has a spouse or partner as everyone earns points for skill transfer in the same manner, with their spouse or partner not receiving any points for their skills.

1. Education and Canadian Work Experience: A candidate’s educational background and Canadian work experience are the first set of combined factors that can boost their CRS score significantly.

With no post-secondary education available to the candidate, even if they hold one or two years of Canadian work experience, they will be awarded the lowest score in this section which is attributed to zero. However, if a candidate holds a university degree at the doctoral level, then with one year of experience in Canada they are granted 25 points, while with two years of Canadian experience, they can earn the maximum points awarded i.e., 50.

2. Education and Language Ability: The second combination within this category is that of an applicant’s educational qualifications and language proficiency. There are two major language ability sections within this category which are a CLB level 7 or higher on all language abilities with at least one of them being a CLB 8, and CLB 9 or higher for all language abilities.

Irrespective of the language ability section one falls in, if they do not hold any post-secondary education then they are awarded zero points in this combination. However, with a university credential at the doctoral level, falling in the former language category will give a candidate a total of 25 points, while being in the latter the candidate will attain a maximum of 50 points toward the applicant’s CRS.

3. Language Ability and Non-Canadian Work Experience: An applicant’s proficiency in languages and non-Canadian work experience are considered together. With the aforementioned language sections valid within this field as well, no work experience even outside Canada will fetch an applicant a total of zero points in the combination. However, with 3 or more years of Canadian work experience, one will receive a point score between 25 – 50 depending upon which language category they fall in.

4. Canadian and Non-Canadian Work Experience: This factor assesses an applicant’s experience in both Canadian and non-Canadian work environments, with two internal sections of up to 1 year of Canadian work experience and up to 2 or more years of Canadian work experience.

With no non-Canadian work experience combined with 1 or 2 years of Canadian work experience, an applicant receives zero in this combination. However, with three or more than three years of non-Canadian work experience, an applicant is sure to receive 25 points with a year of Canadian work tenure, and 50 points with 2 or more years of working in Canada.  

5. Certificate of Qualification in a Trade and Language Ability: Holding a certificate of qualification in a trade occupation issued by a Canadian province can enhance an applicant’s CRS score. If one has such a certificate available, along with a CLB 5 or higher in all language abilities at least one CLB 5 or 6 can fetch an applicant a score of 25, while a CLB 7 or higher in all language abilities will give the applicant a score of 50, which is the maximum achievable score in this category.

Additional Factors:

This category includes various additional factors that can further boost an applicant’s CRS score. The maximum available points for these factors is 600.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) nomination certificate: If a candidate receives an enhanced nomination certificate from a Canadian province (except Quebec), they can earn a total of 600 points.

Qualifying offer of arranged employment: A qualifying job offer of arranged employment from a Canadian employer, particularly in specific high-demand occupations [Senior Management roles], can earn a candidate 200 points. However, if the job offer is for any other role than the one stated above, a candidate earns 50 points for the same.

Canadian study experience: Holding an eligible credential from a Canadian post-secondary program can earn a candidate either 15 or 30 points, depending on the duration and level of the program. For Canadian coursework of one to two years in length at the post-secondary level, the number of points earned by an applicant equals 15. However, candidates receive 30 points if they hold an eligible credential from a post-secondary program of three years or more, a master's level or entry-to-practice professional degree for certain Skill Level A occupations, or a doctoral level credential.

French language ability: Demonstrating adequate intermediate French ability, alongside English proficiency, can earn a candidate an additional 25 or 50 points. The number of points awarded is based solely on the fact that whether a candidate has a CLB level 4 or lower [or have not appeared for an English proficiency examination] or holds a CLB level 5 or higher in his English language test, alongside holding at least CLB level 7 in his French proficiency.

Sibling in Canada: If a candidate or their spouse/common-law partner has a sibling in Canada who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and is also at least 18 years of age, they can receive an extra 15 points.

A complete and comprehensive list of all the above-mentioned Comprehensive Ranking System factors along with their respective points table can be accessed by visiting the link below –

Why Does Canada Use the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)?

Canada employs the Comprehensive Ranking System to identify candidates, both skilled workers and international students, who have the best potential to thrive in the Canadian job market. Extensive government research substantiates that immigrants who arrive in Canada at a younger age, possessing substantial work experience, education, and language skills, integrate most effectively into the Canadian job market. Furthermore, a 2020 report by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) affirmed that Express Entry immigrants, including international students, attain high salaries, enjoy high employment rates, and experience low unemployment rates in Canada, solidifying the effectiveness of the CRS.

One important thing to note here is that candidates can earn a maximum of 600 points for these extra factors. So, if someone finishes a Canadian college or university program and gets a special certificate from a Canadian province, they'll get 600 points, not 615 or 630.

Improving Your CRS Score: for international students

For international students, a higher CRS score is invaluable for securing an invitation to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

Assess Your Eligibility: Begin by visiting CanadaVisa's Express Entry page to gain insights into the program.

Check your eligibility by visiting the link below –

Calculate Your CRS Score: Utilize CanadaVisa's free CRS calculator to ascertain your current CRS score and eligibility.

Check your CRS Score by visiting the link below

Stay Informed: Regularly monitor CanadaVisa's Express Entry draw page to stay updated on the latest CRS requirements.

Identify Opportunities: Explore avenues to boost your CRS score, such as improving your language skills, pursuing additional education, or gaining Canadian work experience.

Create an Express Entry Profile: Once eligible, create your Express Entry profile on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, ensuring you have completed language tests and obtained an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

You can create an Express Entry profile by visiting the below link –


The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is a crucial element in the Canadian immigration process. Understanding it and taking steps to enhance the CRS score can significantly elevate an applicant’s chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

Canada's data-driven approach prioritizes candidates with the potential to seamlessly integrate into the Canadian job market, making it a welcoming destination for skilled workers and international students alike.

Please click on the below link to visit the official Comprehensive Ranking System page on the IRCC Website –