Appendix C – Express Entry: The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is a points-based system. It is useful for assessing and scoring a candidate’s Express Entry profile. This enables the authorities to tank the candidate against all other candidates in the Express Entry pool at the time of a round of invitations.
When a candidate submits a profile in MyCIC, the system automatically assigns a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score to the candidate. It computes the score based on the information provided in the candidate’s profile. A system-generated letter, sent to the candidate’s MyCIC account, notifies the candidates of their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores.
The authorities only issue an Invitation to Apply (ITA) to the top-ranked candidates in the Express Entry pool at the time of a round of invitations.
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Points Allocation System
Candidates can typically score a maximum of 1,200 points in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The criteria for allocation of points:
- Awards 460 – 500 points for a core set of human capital factors that drive economic outcomes such as:
- Level of education
- Official language proficiency
- Canadian work experience
- Awards 40 points for spousal factors
- Awards 100 points for a set of skills transferability or interaction factors that amplify the core set and,
- Awards 600 points for candidates who have a validated provincial or territorial nomination and / or a qualifying offer of arranged employment
The website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) contains a summary of the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). In addition, the Express Entry Ministerial Instructions carry details of a full breakdown of the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).
The authorities believe that the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is a relatively stable component of the Express Entry system. With the passage of time, the authorities might make changes to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) once:
- They undertake refinements and,
- Outcome data becomes available
The Changes to a Candidate’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Score
Candidates bear the responsibility for ensuring that their Express Entry profile is accurate and updated at all times. The system also informs candidates that the authorities could potentially refuse the applications if the candidates:
- Eventually submit an Application for Permanent Residence (APR) and,
- Cannot substantiate the information listed in their Express Entry profile or their Application for Permanent Residence (APR)
Moreover, if the authorities find that the applicants have misrepresented the information in their Express Entry profile or their Application for Permanent Residence (APR), the authorities could penalise the applicants further. Typically, the authorities impose a five-year ban on applicants from submitting any further immigration applications to Canada in this situation.
Situations could arise where candidates go to their MyCIC accounts and update the information in their profiles. For example, candidates could add new credentials or delete some job offers etc. In this scenario, the system will automatically change the candidate’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score to reflect the new information. Therefore, the new Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score will remain visible to the candidate in the MyCIC account.
Processing offices carry the responsibility for assessing Express Entry applications on A11.2 and misrepresentation. To facilitate this, the Global Case Management System (GCMS) automatically records the applicant’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score when:
- Provinces and territories (PTs) issue Invitations to Apply (ITAs) and,
- Applicants submit their Applications for Permanent Residence (APRs)
- When Provinces and territories (PTs) issue Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to candidates, the candidates’ profiles become locked
- Thus, no one can amend the information in these profiles barring specific circumstances
- In this scenario, candidates would need to manually recalculate their scores if they have a change in circumstances:
- After the Provinces and territories (PTs) issue Invitations to Apply (ITAs) and,
- Before the candidates apply for permanent residence
- Doing so could impact the eligibility of the candidates
Rounds of Invitations
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) typically controls the number of Express Entry candidates who receive invitations to apply for permanent residence through a system of “rounds of invitations”. These rounds of invitation usually take place at a frequency and in numbers that align to Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC’s):
- Processing capacity and,
- Annual level targets
It is worth noting that at the time of a round of invitations, a candidate’s rank in the Express Entry pool has greater value than the candidate’s total number of Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points. Therefore, if Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) issues Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to 1,000 candidates from the pool, only the top-ranking 1,000 candidates will receive the Invitations to Apply (ITAs).
A candidate’s rank remains relative to that of all other candidates in the pool at the time of the round. Therefore, a candidate’s rank will change with every round of invitations. Similarly, rounds can be general (and include all programs). Alternatively, they could be program-specific (e.g. aimed at top-ranking Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates only).
For example, a general round of invitations would denote that all candidates in the Express Entry pool would receive Invitations to Apply (ITAs). However, if the authorities only invited 500 candidates, then the top-ranked 500 candidates would receive Invitations to Apply (ITAs). This is regardless of the programs in which these candidates appear.
Similarly, in a program-specific round of invitations, only candidates in the Express Entry pool who have tags for a specific program would receive Invitations to Apply (ITAs). Thus, if the authorities invited the top 500 candidates for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) to apply, only the top 500 candidates belonging to this program would receive Invitations to Apply (ITAs).
Ministerial Instructions (MIs) usually govern Express Entry rounds of invitation. These instructions specify details such as:
- The date of the round
- The number of candidates the authorities want to invite to apply and,
- The specification about the round of invitations i.e. whether the round will be general or program-specific
Typically, the authorities publish these Ministerial Instructions (MIs) only when they plan to hold a round and not in advance.
After holding the round of invitations, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) publishes the score of the lowest-ranked candidate to whom they plan to issue an Invitation to Apply (ITA) in that round.
This enables candidates not having Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to check where their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score is relative to the lowest score from their round. This would give them a general sense of their chances of receiving Invitations to Apply (ITAs) in future rounds.
Candidates could also use this information for assessing whether:
- They should decline the Invitations to Apply (ITAs) or,
- They should submit Applications for Permanent Residence (APRs)
This applies to candidates having Invitations to Apply (ITAs) but whose circumstances have changed.
(Employers and Provinces Assume Greater Role)
The Government of Canada will increase immigration levels significantly in 2015. Citizenship and Immigration Canada aims to welcome as many as 285,000 new permanent residents this year. This represents a significant increase in levels from previous years.
Canada’s increased immigration levels, coincides with the implementation of Express Entry a new immigration system which processes immigrants to Canada under Economic Class programs. Applicants seeking permanent residence, who meet minimum criteria, submit an online expression of interest profile to the Express Entry Pool. Candidates without an approved job offer or provincial nomination must also submit an employment profile to the Canada Job Bank. Candidates in the pool will be available for consideration by employers who cannot access Canadians and to provincial governments for nomination under Provincial Nominee Programs PNP’s. The profiles of candidates in the pool are ranked under a Comprehensive Ranking System according to their age, education, language, experience and other factors.
The maximum score is 1200. Applicants with an approved job offer from a Canadian employer (positive Labour Market Impact Assessment) or candidates nominated by a province receive an additional 600 points.
The highest ranked candidates will be considered by the Federal government for an invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence. The government aims to process applications in 6-months.
The government plans to conduct periodic draws throughout the year. An applicant can remain in the pool for up to one year. An applicant who does not receive an ITA during this period will be removed from the pool and will need to re-submit a new profile. Thus an applicant’s ranking in the pool will vary for each draw as new profiles enter and others are removed.
Immigration falls under a shared jurisdiction between the federal, provincial and territorial governments. Provincial Nomination Programs are widely viewed as an alternative option for many foreign nationals to gain Canadian permanent residency. Every province has implemented its own provincial nomination program, each with its own criteria, in order to promote immigration policies best suited to a province’s particular needs. The Province of Quebec promotes its own immigration programs under special status.
Under Express Entry the role of the provinces will become significant. In addition to the existing Provincial Nomination Programs available through Canadian provinces and territories, currently Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia have launched express entry immigration programs that complement the Canada Express Entry Immigration system. A sponsor employer is often not required.
To be selected under a provincial express entry immigration program, prospective applicants must meet the minimum criteria for one of the three federal programs available under the express entry system (the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trade Program and the Canadian Experience Class). They must also complete a federal express entry assessment profile.
From the federal express entry pool a participating province can select between 350 to 1,000 applicants for nomination to their province each year depending on agreements with the federal government. Other provinces are expected to launch express entry programs in 2015.
The Canadian government announced the details of the new express entry system for skilled migrants. Due to launch on January 1, the new system will invite the “highest ranking” candidates to apply for permanent residency in Canada.
According to the details revealed by the government, the new system, under its “Comprehensive Ranking System”, will allot a total of 1,200 points; however, no minimum level of points is needed to qualify. Candidates who have a permanent job offer from a Canadian employer or those who have been nominated for immigration by a ministry or province will qualify for a maximum of 600 points, and would likely have an advantage of being “picked first” over other applicants.
A combination of education level, certificate in trades, and foreign work experience can earn up to 100 points. And a maximum of 500 points will be given for language proficiency, age, education level, and Canadian work experience.
A few examples of how prospective candidates might be ranked under the new express entry system are given below:
Case 1: 32-year-old IT programmer without a spouse
Age: 94 points
Full proficiency in English: up to 136 points
Proficiency in French: 0 points
Post-secondary program credential of three years or longer: 120 points
Transferable skills: up to 100 points
Canadian work experience: 0 points
Sub-total: up to 450 out of 600 points
Additional 600 points for a nomination from a ministry or province or for a permanent job offer
Total: up to 1,050 points.
Case 2: 27-year-old IT engineer and designer without a spouse
Age: 110 points
Proficiency in either English or French: up to 136 points
Proficiency in a second official language: up to 24 points
Equivalent of a Master’s degree: 135 points
Transferable skills: up to 100 points
Canadian work experience: up to 80 points
Sub-total: up to 585 out of 600 points.
No permanent job offer or a nomination from a province or territory: 0 points.
Total: up to 585 points.
Case 3: 45-year-old financial analyst with a spouse
Age: 0 points.
Proficiency in either English or French: up to 128 points.
Proficiency in a second official language: up to 22 points.
Equivalent of an undergraduate university degree: 120 points
Transferable skills: up to 100 points.
Canadian work experience: up to 70 points.
Spouse factors: up to 40 points.
Sub-total: up to 480 points out of 600 points.
Additional 600 points for a permanent job offer or a nomination from a province or territory.
Total: up to 1,080 points.
Source: CBC News