Express Entry FAQ: Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)

Last updated: 18 September 2020

Frequently asked questions about Express Entry's Comprehensive Ranking System.

The Comprehensive Ranking System, or CRS, is the Government of Canada’s unique points system for ranking Express Entry candidates based on factors including age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French.

Eligible candidates can submit a profile into the Express Entry pool, where they are ranked based on their CRS scores.

The Government of Canada regularly issues Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for Canadian permanent residence to the highest-ranked candidates through regular draws from the Express Entry pool and aims to process applications within six months.

An Express Entry candidate can obtain up to 1,200 points under the Comprehensive Ranking System, which are distributed across several factors. A candidate’s age, education, language proficiency and work experience — known as core human capital factors — are awarded a score out of 500. Combinations of some of these factors are called Skill Transferability factors and can be worth up to 100 additional points. These 600 points constitute what's known as a candidate’s core CRS score. Points are also awarded for additional factors, such as a provincial nomination, an offer of arranged employment, prior Canadian study experience, French language ability, and a sibling who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada. While these points are not required in order to enter or to be selected from the Express Entry pool, they can significantly increase a candidate’s CRS score.The most valuable additional factor is a provincial nomination, which results in 600 CRS points. Many provincial nominee program streams are only available to candidates in the Express Entry pool.
The beauty of the Express Entry system for candidates is the fact it’s dynamic. This means a candidate’s score isn’t fixed, but can be improved in many cases if the candidate is willing to put in the effort. Some areas where a candidate may be able to improve their CRS score include:
  • Obtaining the best language scores possible;
  • Documenting their education and work experience correctly; and
  • Taking proactive steps to pursue provincial nominee programs, a Canadian job or new credentials.

For more details, please visit our dedicated How to Improve Your CRS Score page.

Age is one factor that counts for points under the CRS. Age is worth up to 110 points for a single applicant or 100 points for a candidate with a spouse or common-law law partner. Maximum points for age are awarded to candidates between 20 and 29. Candidates are no longer awarded points after the age of 45, but they may still be eligible to submit an Express Entry profile and could obtain an Invitation to Apply for Canadian permanent residence on the strength of their scores under other factors.
An ECA is an assessment that determines the Canadian equivalent of a degree obtained outside Canada. If you have a Canadian degree, diploma or certificate, you do not need to get an ECA for that credential. An ECA is not required in order to enter the Express Entry pool as a Federal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class candidate. However, you will need an ECA for your foreign degree, diploma or certificate if you want to be considered as a principal applicant under the Federal Skilled Worker Class. Furthermore, all candidates in the Express Entry pool who want to receive CRS points for their foreign education and/or that of their spouse or common-law partner will need to get their education assessed.

For immigration purposes, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will only accept ECAs obtained from one of the designated organizations listed below:

For specialist and family physicians, a report from the Medical Council of Canada is required for:

  • specialist physicians (NOC 3111) and
  • general practitioners/family physicians (NOC 3112)