Assess chances

General information about Canada's immigration system Express Entry

General information about Canada

Want to move to Canada? You will most likely need to register with Express Entry.

Express Entry is a system for selecting skilled applicants as permanent residents based on their ability to settle in Canada and participate in the Canadian economy.

Potential candidates submit their applications online in the Express Entry system and document their eligibility (language, education, profession, and so on). After completing the profile, the candidate enters the general system for selecting participants. The winners are determined based on the number of points they have scored.

How Express Entry works

To register for the Express Entry system, you must qualify for one of Canada's three federal immigration programs:

The first step is for potential candidates to fill out an online Express Entry profile. They are then awarded points under the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Candidates with the highest scores are placed into the pool of candidates. Finally, Canada holds an immigration draw, and applicants with the highest scores receive invitations to apply for permanent residency.

Candidate assessment

The Comprehensive Ranking System evaluates:

  • human capital factors, including spouse factors — up to 500 points;
  • bundles of factors — up to 100 points;
  • additional factors — up to 600 points.

The maximum number of possible points is 1,200 and the minimum passing score varies from selection to selection.

Human capital and spouse factors

Points for human capital factors are awarded depending on whether you are a single applicant or a family. In the second case, the principal applicant and their spouse or common-law partner are evaluated.

The maximum scores for human capital factors are as follows:

  • age — 110 points for a single candidate, 100 points for a candidate with a spouse/partner;
  • education — 150 points for a single candidate, 140 points for a candidate with a spouse/partner;
  • language skills — 160 points for a single candidate, 150 for a candidate with a spouse/partner;
  • work experience in Canada — 80 points for a single candidate, 70 points for a candidate with a spouse/partner.

Separately, the candidate's spouse or partner shall be evaluated on the following factors:

  • education — up to 10 points;
  • language skills — up to 20 points;
  • work experience in Canada — up to 10 points.

Bundles of factors

Up to 100 additional points can be earned for bundles of criteria. There are several types of bundles:

  • language skills plus education;
  • Canadian work experience plus education;
  • work experience in another country plus language skills;
  • work experience in another country plus work experience in Canada.

Additional factors

Additional points can be earned for relatives living in Canada, knowing two languages (English and French), completed education in Canada, highly skilled occupation, and provincial nomination.

The maximum number of points (600) is awarded to provincial nominees. Nominees are those who have applied under one of the provincial immigration programs and received an invitation. Considering provincial programs may be a good idea if your CRS score is low as you can apply with much lower scores.

How many points you need to score

From time to time, Canada conducts immigration draws through Express Entry and selects applicants with the highest score. The minimum points vary from draw to draw, but lately, they have been quite high — over 500. Few people manage to score that high.

The Express Entry system is quite complex, so it's easy to get confused when calculating scores on your own.

We have developed a free Express Entry points calculator. With its help you can quickly calculate how many points you will get in the system.

Priority categories

In 2023, Canada has identified 6 priority categories of applicants who are of particular interest to the country. For these applicants, the passing scores can be very much reduced. While candidates in general draws must score more than 500 points, passing scores for priority applicants start from 336. This is a huge difference, which can be decisive.

Thus, if you score low but fall into one of the priority categories, you have a high chance of being invited to apply for a residence permit. Which categories are considered priority:

  • French-language proficiency;
  • healthcare occupations;
  • science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) occupations;
  • trade occupations;
  • transport occupations;
  • agriculture and agri-food occupations.

The first category — French-language proficiency — requires an above-average command of French (approximately B2). The other categories require at least six months of work experience in the last three years in an eligible profession. For a list of occupations for each category, see our article.

Express Entry draw history

Every two weeks, several thousand lucky Express Entry applicants receive invitations to apply for permanent residency in Canada. We recommend that you follow the selection history to keep up-to-date with changes in scores and the number of invitations sent.

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