The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and How to Calculate Your Score

The new ranking system Canada has introduced is quite competitive. Solely highest-ranking applicants are invited for Canada's permanent residency. This article expands on what CRS entails with additional tips to improve your CRS scores.

29 Aug 2021, 10:17 am


min read

comprehensive ranking system

Canada introduced its new Express Entry system for most of the federal economic immigration programs in 2015 to regulate the country’s economic gaps. To process the applications for the express entry programs, a highly competitive ranking system was introduced to make things easier for everyone.

The ranking system has made the express entry system quite competitive, where only the highest-ranking applicants are invited for Canada’s permanent residency.

In this article, we will discuss in detail the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and everything it entails, as well as tips and assistance on how to improve your CRS scores. 

What is the Comprehensive Ranking System?

Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is a merit based points system which allots specific points to the applicants based on a variety of factors such as age, education, and language and work experience. A combined total of these scores determine how high ranked you are in the pool of candidates, and based on top ranks, applicants receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

comprehensive ranking system

It is a very straightforward system, with the chances of immigration being directly proportional to the points you accumulate. Luckily, there are ways to improve your CRS score.

Every individual who wishes to apply is assigned a CRS score out of 1200 points. These points are divided into the following factors.

  • Core/Human Capital Factors – a maximum of 500 points allotted without a spouse, and 460 points with a spouse.
  • Spouse or Common-Law Factors – a maximum of 40 points allotted. 
  • Skill Transferability Factors – a maximum of 100 points allotted. 
  • Additional Factors (language, education, experience, ties in Canada, provincial nomination) – a maximum of 600 points allotted. 


In order to apply for Express entry and have a CRS score assigned to you, there are criteria that need to be met. There are three express entry programs for immigration to Canada, and you must be eligible under one of them.

  • Federal Skilled Worker Class – This express entry program is for all the skilled and professional workers around the globe who want to immigrate alone or with their partner/spouse and dependent children. The applications are mostly processed within 6 months. 
  • Federal Skilled Trades Class – This express entry program is specifically for experienced tradespersons around the globe. The applications for this program are also processed within 6 months.
  • Canadian Experience Class – This express entry program is for applicants who have already completed at least one year of skilled work in Canada. These are the individuals who are already aware of the economy and have set roots to settle down in the country.  

Points Breakdown

We already gave you an overview of the factors that determine your CRS score. Now, we will delve deep into these factors, and how you are scored according to your level of experience in each of them. 

Core/Human Capital Factors 

This is the only factor that varies according to your application status as a single individual, or accompanying spouse/common-law partner. This is further divided into sub-units as follows. 


The maximum score is 110 points for single applicants, and 100 points with spouse/partner. You can score maximum points between 20 to 29 years of age, after which they drop by 5 points every year till 40 years of age, and by 10 points till 45 years of age.

Level of Education

You can achieve a maximum of 140 for single applicants and 150 points with spouse/partner. This is governed by level of education with authentic and attested degrees.

First Official Language Proficiency

This is determined on your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. You can get a maximum of 34 points as a single applicant, and 32 points with a spouse/partner. The scores for this are calculated according to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB).

Second Official Language Proficiency

This too is determined by CLB, and is a maximum of 24 points for single applicants, and 22 points with a spouse/partner.

Canadian Work Experience

You can score a maximum of 80 points as a single applicant, or 70 points with spouse/partner for work experience of 5 or more years in Canada.

Spouse or Common-law Partner Factors 

If you are applying for express entry with an accompanying spouse/partner and dependent children, you can make up the lacking 40 points of the human capital factors in this section. The points depend on your spouse/partner’s level of education (maximum of 10 points), first official language proficiency (maximum of 20 points), and Canadian work experience (maximum of 10 points).

 Skill Transferability Factors

You can get a maximum of 100 points in the skill transferability or ‘combination’ factors. The scores depend on an applicant’s performance in two areas. You can get a maximum of 50 points for two factors, or an overall 100 points for a combination of five factors.

These scores are not affected whether the applicant is applying alone or with an accompanying spouse/partner. These scores depend on the education and language proficiency, Canadian work experience, foreign work experience along with good official language proficient of CLB 7 or higher and trade certificate.  

 Additional Points 

You can really up your game in this factor.

Here are some ways you can get additional points to add to your total CRS score:
  • Sibling living in Canada as a citizen or permanent resident – 15 points. 
  • French Language Proficiency – 30 points.
  • Having post-secondary education from Canada – 30 points.
  • A pre-arranged employment/job offer from Canada – 200 points.
  • PN Nomination – 600 points. 

How to Increase Your CRS Scores?

Instead of waiting for your invitation in every upcoming draw, the smarter course of action is to work towards research on how to increase your CRS score and improving it indeed. It brings you up in the pool and makes you one of the high-ranked candidates with much better chances of immigration. If you really commit to it, you can boost your CRS scores significantly. Here are some tips to help you make your case strong. 

Thorough Knowledge of CRS

The first step is to have complete and detailed knowledge of the CRS scores and how they are calculated. You need to stay sharp and on track with your express entry application and make sure you have claimed the points assigned in each section making up the total CRS scores.

For instance, having a sibling in Canada doesn’t only apply to the applicant, but also to their spouse/partner. The relationship can be through adoption, marriage, blood, or partnership. Just prove the authenticity and you can top up your scores by 15 points. 

Language Skills

Language skills play an important role in your CRS score. If you are proficient in both English and French, take one of the approved language tests for express entry in both languages to get the maximum points.

There are also bonus points available for bilingual applicants. Moreover, certain provincial nominee streams are exclusively open for French speakers which greatly increases your chances of being selected. 

Another way to improve your CRS scores is by retaking the language test. There are several institutes and tutors who can help you get better scores. Getting a CLB of 9 in each ability (speaking, listening, writing, and reading) can boost your scores in the skills transferability factors as well. 

Work: Job Offer & Experience

You can plan to increase your CRS score strategically. If you can hold off your application to make your case strong, you can improve your CRS points in a number of ways. Firstly, you can get more work experience which improves CRS scores in the skills transferability combinations. This is especially beneficial for those who are working in Canada on a work permit under temporary visa, as Canadian work experience warrants more points that really help bring your scores up. 

Additionally, you can search for an employer from authentic job search tools in Canada. A genuine job offer can up your scores by 50-200 points.

You may also check your eligibility online:


Completing your education or getting a higher education degree will also add more points to your CRS scores applying for a study permit.

If you are applying through Canadian Experience Class or Federal Skilled Trades Class, you might be able to claim as many as 200 CRS points for education, as you don’t have to provide an educational credential assessment (ECA). If you have a one-year diploma lying around that’s not related to your field of interest, you can still claim points for it and up your scores. 

Accompanying Spouse/Common-Law Partner

While spouse/partner contributes only 40 points to the CRS scores, sometimes these 40 points can be a deciding factor for your acceptance. Depending on the education, work experience, and language skills, you can assess whether it’s a smart move to include them in your application, or exclude them initially and call them once you get invited and are eligible to do so at a later date. 

Your spouse/partner may also have a stronger case and make a better choice for the principal applicant. Furthermore, both partners can submit a profile in the express entry pool while listing each other as accompanying spouse for a higher chance of selection. 

Provincial Nominee Program 

Last but not the least, we are sure you didn’t overlook the glorious whopping 600 points of Provincial nominee program (PNP) in additional factors. It’s always a good idea to learn about the eligibility requirements and application procedures of different PNP streams in Canada to possibly obtain one. 

Get Professional Help!

Sometimes to increase the CRS score all you need is simple guidance from top experts. Most Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) today have a wide knowledge of the small print. Reach out to any of these recommended RCIC’s for assistance.

Bottom Line

Whichever way you opt for, remember that your CRS score is not set in stone. There are always ways to improve the CRS score and bring it up. Sooner or later, you can achieve your CRS points targets and set your plans in motion.

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Arriving in Canada as an international student over a decade ago, Rebecca fell in love with the country and the immigration process. she channeled her years of writing and editing experience into her love for immigration.

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