Canadian Express Entry: Points, Points, Points!

In our last post, we talked about Express Entry, the system used by Citizenship and Immigration Canada in choosing who gets a chance to immigrate to Canada.

Today, we take a deeper look into the point system and hopefully give some more insight into how it all works.

Before we start, just want to say that all data featured below were taken from Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s official website. Click here to visit that page.

Okay, let’s get into it then, shall we?


This is the maximum number of points you can get in Express Entry. Here’s how it’s broken down:

Total Points Breakdown

Let’s go into more detail on these factors. Take note that I’m going through this now with the assumption that the applicant is single. We’ll tackle having a spouse or a common-law-partner afterwards.

Core and Human Capital Factors

This category basically takes into account one’s age, level of education, ability to speak English and Canadian work experience.

Express Entry Age Breakdown

It’s clear from this picture that Canada is clearly placing more value into younger potential immigrants, with the age bracket of 20-29 getting the most amount of points possible for this category. You may also notice that there is a point differential between single applicants and those that are married or have a common-law-partner. (don’t worry about this since your spouse/partner’s credentials will allow you to make up for the “lost” points later on).

Level of Education

Next up, is education. Obviously, your educational attainment will carry a big weight in your chances to immigrate to Canada. However, this is not as simple as having a diploma and getting the requisite points. As we all know, schools are not created equal and Express Entry will take both your educational attainment and school into account before assigning you points. Part of your required submissions to Express Entry will be a 3rd party assessment of all your college level and above studies.

Official Language Proficiency

Canada evaluates your proficiency in its two official languages, English and French, with English carrying a bigger weight. Each language is graded on four factors – reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Here in the Philippines (not sure how it is when you’re applying from other countries), applicants had to take something called the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and your score there will be translated into points in Express Entry.

As for proficiency in French, I’m sorry, but I don’t really know how to get this done since the only French I know is from Dexter’s Lab.


I’ll be writing about both my personal experience in both education assessment and language proficiency on a later post.

Canadian Work Experience

The last core/ human capital factor is Canadian work experience. This obviously applies to applicants that are currently already inside Canada (applying through their employer), or have had work experience in Canada when they were maybe a student in Canada.

Next, we move on to Skill Transferability Factors.

Skill Transferability Factors

In terms skill transferability, this part takes into account your scores in education and it also takes a look at your work experience in your home country.

Work Experience

As you can see from the picture above, Express Entry really places a lot of value on Canadian work experience. Nevertheless, you can also see there how important it is to have at least three years of work experience and a good score on your language proficiency test.

Additional Points

So far, we’ve been able to account for half of the maximum 1,200 points. If at this point, you feel that your scores aren’t up to par, then this is your final chance to instantly get a whopping 600 points. Considering the fact that the last three Citizenship and Immigration Canada draws have been 461, 460 and 461 points, then an additional 600 points to your score will surely get you invited to apply for permanent residence.

For this, you either get an arranged employment or a provincial nomination. Arranged employment is done through Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s job bank. Part of creating a profile in Express Entry is also creating a job bank profile. Your skills will be put up their for prospective employers to see. You may also explore and apply for available jobs like any normal online portal for job seekers.

The other option is the Provincial Nomination Program. From what I understand, a Canadian province may nominate you to come live in their province. This may be because of a particular skill you possess or because a local company wanted to offer you a job.

As far as golden tickets go, getting either an arranged employment or provincial nomination is as golden as it gets.

What if I’m Married? 

If you have a spouse or a common-law-partner, you maximum scores in certain categories will be lessened and given to yor spouse to earn.

Spouse 1

Spouse 2

Basically, they will take a maximum of 40 points away from you and give it to your spouse to earn through his/her education, language proficiency and work experience.

Whew. Now that was a pretty long post wasn’t it? Hopefully, I was able to give a clearer picture of how the Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Express Entry point system is broken down. If there’s anything you want to ask, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can! Alternatively, I’ve also set up a Twitter account @tropics2rockies, so we can also talk there. 🙂


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