Changes to the Comprehensive Ranking System for Canadian Express Entry


Last November 19, 2016. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) made some changes to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) for it’s Express Entry (EE). They are significant changes which we feel will definitely impact the flow to immigrants into Canada. We’ve outlined the changes below and will also touch on shortly about how it affects current and future applicants.

Job Offers and Work Experience

Previously, all job offers were worth an automatic 600 points; an increase that would assure one of an Invitation to Apply (ITA). With the update to the CRS, job offers will now be only awarded either 200 or 50 points depending on the National Occupational Classification (NOC) of the applicant.

NOCs that will get an additional 200 points are

  • 0011 Legislators
  • 0012 Senior government managers and officials
  • 0013 Senior managers – financial, communications and other business services
  • 0014 Senior managers – health, education, social and community services and membership organizations
  • 0015 Senior managers – trade, broadcasting and other services not elsewhere classified.
  • 0016 Senior managers – construction, transportation, production and utilities

All other job offers that are not included in the NOCs above will only receive 50 points in EE.

In addition to this, job offers must now be at least one year in duration from the previous requirement of “indeterminate”.

Lastly, current holders of work permits in Canada, but do not have a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) will also be eligible for additional EE points as long as they carry work permits that are issued under North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and are issued under the ‘significant benefits to Canada’ criteria, such as Intra-Company Transfers.

If you’re a worker currently in Canada now, this table below should help you see if you are eligible for points.

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Canadian Education

Actual time and degrees earned while studying in Canada will now earn an applicant additional points on top of any accredited education he or she gets from their education in their home countries. These “bonus” points from Canadian education are the following:

  • 15 points if the applicant has an eligible credential from a one-year or two-year post-secondary program.
  • 30 points if the applicant has an eligible credential from a post-secondary program of three years or more, from a university-level program at the master’s level or at the level of an entry-to-practice professional degree for an occupation listed in the National Occupational Classification matrix at Skill Level A for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required, or from a university-level program at the doctoral level.

Do note that for these points to be awarded, the applicant has to have had studied at a Canadian educational institution, was enrolled in full-time study or training for at least eight months and was physically present in Canada for at least eight months.

Additional Time

The amendments so far have been mostly bad news, but one good change is the fact that applicants who have received an ITA now have 90 days to fully submit their application instead of the original 60 days.

What does this mean for candidates already in the pool?

Candidates that are already in the pool will be have already been subjected to these changes. The only candidates that will see their points change would be those that already have a current job offer and those who have any Canadian education listed (we would assume that this would make up a small percentage of candidates).

For most of the candidates in the pool though, your points will probably neither increase or decrease, but you will find that your profile will now have a higher value/ranking since we are assuming that the profiles with current job offers will see their points drop.

What does this mean for new/aspiring applicants? 

If there’s one thing that these changes reinforce, it is the fact that getting a Provincial Nomination is the best way to earn an ITA for Canada. With getting an LMIA being a long shot and with most jobs now worth only 50 points, the additional 600 points from a Provincial Nomination is now an applicant’s most powerful tool to get an ITA.

However, if you have the luxury of both time and resources, studying in Canada should also be taken into consideration given that the new government seems keen on giving students a better chance of staying in the country.

Why the change?

IRCC has not come out with an official statement explaining why they needed to change how the CRS is being done, but we can speculate that this is IRCC’s way of further making sure that they are on top of any loopholes people might exploit to get into Canada. These changes will also help the Canadian government more evenly spread the immigrants that are coming in to the provinces in need of more people, while also giving Canadian educated foreign students a better chance of staying in the country to work and become citizens.

There you have it! We hope we explained the changes pretty clearly for you guys. As always, if there’s anything you want to ask, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you as soon as I can! Alternatively, we’ve also set up a Twitter account @tropics2rockies, so we can also talk there. 🙂


6 thoughts on “Changes to the Comprehensive Ranking System for Canadian Express Entry

  1. Hello! thanks for this blog! After getting a CRS score of 429, I’ve been looking for jobs and contacting recruiters via Linkedin and other recruitment websites. A candidate applying for Job has to be legally entitled to work in Canada- meaning you should be in Canada and get the necessary approvals.

    I don’t understand then, how to increase my score, apart from getting a job. I’ve applied for provincial nomination, and yet to hear from them 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Joel!

      Unfortunately, it does really seem like getting a legitimate job offer from outside of Canada is now a shot in the dark. The Canadian government has passed laws and rules that almost make it impossible to hire a foreign national unless that someone has a highly specialized skill set / trade. I think the only ones getting into Canada through job offers right now are those with a background in medicine.

      For the last couple of years, hopeful immigrants have really used the Provincial Nomination program as their way into Canada. This can really be a hit or miss affair and it really requires a lot of patience, persistence and well… luck. In our case, it took Prince Edward Island a total of nine months to reply to our letter of intent. We didn’t hear a single word from them within that amount of time and it really tested our resolve.

      Look for all available and open provincial nominations and apply to all of them. If you have the time and the resources, you can also explore getting a master’s degree in Canada. Right now, those are the only two pieces of advise I can give you.

      Really hope I was able to help. Good luck Joel. 🙂


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