Understanding the Canadian Immigration Points System

Published on: June 12th, 2023

When someone refers to the Canadian immigration points system, they are likely referring to Canada’s Express Entry system. Express Entry uses a points system to select the most competitive workers for immigration to Canada.

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What is Canada’s Express Entry immigration points system?

Three programs are aligned with Express Entry:

Candidates who submit an Express Entry profile under one of these programs receive a score based on numerous factors. Immigration points are largely based on a candidate’s age, language proficiency, level of education, work experience, and a few other factors.

This scoring system is called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and a candidate’s total points are known as their CRS score.

When someone refers to Canadian immigration points, they are usually referring to the CRS score.

Those interested in applying for Express Entry immigration must first create an Express Entry profile indicating all factors that will be considered for points. All eligible profiles receive a CRS score, out of a maximum of 1200 points. Then, approximately every two weeks, the Canadian government conducts an Express Entry draw. In each draw, the highest-ranking candidates receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian immigration.

Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) establishes a cut-off score in each Express Entry draw. All candidates with higher immigration points than the cut-off receive an ITA for Canadian immigration.

Federal Skilled Worker Points

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW) is one of the three programs aligned with Express Entry. FSW uses another points system, in addition to the CRS score. Sometimes when a person refers to Canadian immigration points, they are referring to the FSW points.

Before calculating one’s CRS score, all FSW candidates must meet the minimum eligibility criteria for FSW. Canada determines a candidate’s eligibility for the FSW program by calculating their FSW points, which is an immigration points system that is different from the CRS score.

The FSW points grid is out of 100 points. For an FSW candidate to be eligible to submit an Express Entry profile, they must score at least 67 out of 100 points. These points take into account age, education, language proficiency, work experience, and connections to Canada. While it may sound similar to the CRS score, candidates receive different amounts of points for these factors in FSW versus the CRS score.

Meeting the 67 out of 100 for FSW points opens the door to the Express Entry pool. Only once a person has achieved this minimum score do they become eligible to get their CRS score.

Canada’s other two Express Entry-aligned programs, FST and CEC, do not use separate immigration points systems to calculate eligibility. Instead, candidates applying under the FST, and CEC programs must meet the program’s minimum eligibility criteria.

Is There a Minimum CRS Score to Enter the Express Entry Pool?

There is no minimum CRS score required to enter the Express Entry pool of candidates. The CRS cut-off fluctuates each draw and may increase or decrease depending on a number of factors. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) does not release what the minimum required CRS score will be ahead of each round of invitations. Therefore, the higher your CRS score, the stronger chance you will have of receiving an ITA.

How to Calculate your Immigration Points for Canada’s Express Entry System

Canada’s immigration points system for FSW and Express Entry candidates considers a combination of many different factors. For more detailed information about Canadian immigration points, please refer to our web pages explaining the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score and the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) points grid.

A quick way to determine your immigration points under Canada’s Express Entry system is by using our free CRS Calculator tool. Our tool will provide you with an estimate of your CRS score once you enter the Express Entry pool.

To find out if you’re eligible to submit an Express Entry profile under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, you can browse the eligibility requirements on our dedicated page. To receive a full evaluation of your eligibility for this program, and any other Canadian immigration program, complete our free online assessment form.


Interested to learn more about Express Entry and CRS points? Take our free immigration assessment to get started!

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