Guide to the Comprehensive Ranking System – Express Entry

Express Entry CRS

Since the 2015 Express Entry system is now operational, we’ve taken the time to go over the CRS criteria in detail below as a Canadian immigration points calculator, so you can determine how many points you will score for the Express Entry 2015 as outlined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

For each section below, there is a maximum number of points that can be awarded. The pints awarded depend on age, level of education, and whether or not you have a spouse or common law partner.

CRS Core Factors: Calculate Your Points

The following five sub-sections are the most basic, core factors that make up the majority of the ranking process for individual candidates.


The maximum an individual can be awarded when it comes to age is 100 points (with a spouse or common-law partner), or 110 points (without a spouse or common-law partner. In order to achieve the maximum number of points in each category, you have to be in the age bracket of 20 – 29 years old.

The minimum number of points that can be awarded for age apply to those who are under 17 years of age, or over 45 (both 0 points). For those between the ages of 17 and 45, the number of points awarded varies across the age spectrum, peaking at ages 20 – 29. In order to see where you fall, take a look at the full table here.

Level of education

The maximum you can be awarded for your education level is 150 points, which applies to a university-level credential at the Doctoral level, and without a spouse or common-law partner (with, you’d be awarded 140).

Let’s look at how the points vary for those without a spouse or common-law partner (for those with spouses, points awarded are slightly less)

  • Less than secondary or high school equivalent: 0 points
  • Secondary school or high school equivalent: 30 points
  • One-year post-secondary program credential: 90 points
  • Two-year post-secondary program credential: 98 points
  • Post-secondary program credential of 3+ years: 120 points
  • Two or more post-secondary program credentials, at least one of which lasting 3+ years: 128 points
  • Master’s level university credential, or an entry-to-practice professional degree for an occupation a) listed at NOC Level A, and b) requires licensing by a provincial regulatory body: 135 points
  • University-level credential at the Doctoral level: 150 points

Official Language Proficiency

Language ability is split into four sub-categories: reading, writing, talking and listening. The maximum number of points awarded for each of these sub-categories is 32 (with a spouse or common-law partner) or 34 (without a spouse or common-law partner).

So, when each of these sub-categories are added up, the maximum number of points an individual can be awarded is 128 (with a spouse or common-law partner) and 136 (without a spouse or common-law partner).

Points are awarded based on CLB level, with CLB 4 or less being awarded 0 points. Those who have achieved CLB 10 or higher are awarded the maximum number of 32/34 points (depending on whether you have a spouse or common-law partner).

Second Official Language

For second official language proficiency, the sub-categories are the same as above, with the maximum number of points being 22/24. You will be awarded 6 points for each sub-category, with the total number of points being capped at 22 if you have a spouse or common-law partner (you will be awarded the maximum 24 points if you do not).

Canadian Work Experience

The maximum points you can be awarded for Canadian work experience is 70 (with a spouse/common-law partner) and 80 (without a spouse/common-law partner) for five years or more. Let’s take a look at how the points system works for those without a spouse or common-law partner:

  • Less than a year: 0 points
  • 1 year: 40 points
  • 2 years: 53 points
  • 3 years: 64 points
  • 4 years: 72 points
  • 5 years or more: 80 points

That brings us to the end of this sub-section. The maximum number of points you can score for this section are: 460 points (with a spouse/common-law partner) and 500 points (without a spouse/common-law partner)

Spouse or common-law factors (if applicable)

Now, we’re aware not everyone has a spouse or common-law partner, so if this doesn’t apply to you, feel free to skip the following sub-sections entirely. If it does, then read on:

Spouse/Common-Law Partner’s Level Of Education

Points awarded for this category range from 0 -10. The maximum-level categories are Master’s Degree university level, and university-credential at Doctoral level, both 10 points. To see how your spouse/common-law partner would rank, check the CIC table.

Spouse/Common-Law Partner’s Official Languages Proficiency

Again, the official languages proficiency section is split into four different categories: reading, writing, talking and listening. For each sub-category, your spouse/common-law partner can be awarded up to five points, with a maximum score of 20 points.

Spouse/Common-Law Partner’s Canadian Work Experience

The maximum number of points your spouse/common-law partner can be awarded for this section is 10 points, which applies to five years or more Canadian work experience. Points awarded are as follows:

  • Less than a year: 0 points
  • 1 year: 5 points
  • 2 years: 7 points
  • 3 years: 8 points
  • 4 years: 9 points
  • 5+ years: 10 points

The maximum number of points your spouse/common-law partner can score for this section is 40 points, taking your maximum total up to 500 points (core/human capital factors + spouse/common-law partner factors).

Skill transferability factors

This is the final section for Express Entry 2015’s CRS criteria, and covers your level of education, Canadian work experience, foreign work experience and relevant qualifications for trade occupations. Some of these sections also take language proficiency into account to add to your overall score.

The first sub-section for skill transferability is education, and based on two factors. These are: a) a post-secondary degree with good official language proficiency and b) a post-secondary degree with Canadian work experience. The maximum you can score for this sub-section is 100 points (a maximum of 50 points for each section) and varies depending on your level of education.

Education (With A Post-Secondary Degree With Good Official Language Proficiency)

In order to score for language proficiency, you must have a CLB 7 or more for your official language abilities; your score is then calculated based on your level of education. In order to score the maximum 50 points, you must have a CLB 9 or more for your official language proficiency, and the highest level of education (two or more post-secondary education program credentials, at least one of which lasting three years or longer).

Education (With A Post-Secondary Degree And Canadian Work Experience)

This section takes into account your education level combined with the number of years of Canadian work experience you have (either 1 year, or 2+ years of work experience). The maximum you can score for this section is 50 points.

Foreign Work Experience (With Official Language Proficiency)

The maximum you can score for foreign work experience is 50 points, although this also takes into account your language proficiency. Like the education sub-section, you must have a language proficiency of CLB 9 or over to score the maximum number of points, along with 3+ years of foreign work experience.

Canadian Work Experience + Foreign Work Experience

In order to score the maximum 50 points, you must have completed the maximum 3+ years of foreign work experience (like the last section), combined with the maximum 2+ years of Canadian work experience.

Certification Of Qualifications (Applies To Trade Occupations) (With Official Language Proficiency)

If you have a certificate of qualification combined with a CLB 5+ on all of your first official language abilities (with one or more under 7), you will be awarded 25 points. The maximum 50 points will be awarded if you have a certificate of qualification combined with a CLB 7+ on all four first official language abilities.

The subtotal for this section is 600 points.

An additional 600 points can be awarded for:

  1. Arranged employment
  2. Provincial or territorial nomination

The maximum you can be awarded for the Express Entry 2015 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is 1200 points.

Are You Interested In The Express Entry Program? 

The most important aspect of the Express Entry program is to get an invitation to apply for permanent residence. Without an invitation, you can’t get your Permanent Residence. In order to get an invitation, you have to be selected from a pool of applicants who are all competing for an invitation.

Our job is to make you STAND OUT from the crowd. We will assess your case, highlight the best aspects of your application, and make sure that the government notices you! This way, your chances of getting an invitation are maximized.

Call us today for an assessment to see if you are eligible for Express Entry to Canada, or fill out our online assessment form.







Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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