6 Selection Factors for Express Entry Federal Skilled Worker Program

Canada uses several selection factors — each assigning points — to determine eligibility of applicants to the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

FactorsMaximum Points
Language skills28
Education 25
Work experience15
Age12
Arranged employment in Canada10
Adaptability 10

Depending on these factors, applicants are assigned certain points on each factor and add them all up. If the cumulative total reaches 67 points or higher, then the applicant may qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program and submit their application online via the Express Entry.

If cumulative total score is lower than 67 points, an applicant won’t qualify for the program. However, he or she may improve the scoring system by:

  • improving language skills
  • completing another degree, diploma, or certificate
  • receiving an offer of arranged employment in Canada

Language skills (maximum 28 points)

Canada has two official languages: English and French. Having good knowledge in English and/or French helps applicants navigate through the Canadian labor market.

Applicants are awarded to a total of 28 points for both first language (maximum 24 points) and second language (maximum 4 points) in their English and French language skills. The points awarded are based on applicant’s ability to:

  • write
  • read
  • listen
  • speak

Language testing

Applicants are required to take an approved language test to prove their language proficiency levels.

To measure an applicant’s English or French language proficiency levels, the following benchmarks are used:

  • Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) for English
  • Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) for French

Applicants must reach a minimum level of CLB 7 or NCLC 7 for 1 official language in all 4 language areas. To get points for the second official language, he/she must meet the minimum level of CLB 5 or NCLC 5 in all 4 language areas.

Once applicant takes the language test, he/she can use it to see exactly how many points is grantedfor the language selection factor.

Find out more about language testing and how to get tested.

Calculate applicant’s language points

First official language (maximum 24 points)
Check the table below and add the points that match applicant’s skill level:

First official languageSpeakingListeningReadingWriting
CLB level 9 or higher6666
CLB level 85555
CLB level 74444
Below CLB level 7Not eligible to applyNot eligible to applyNot eligible to applyNot eligible to apply

Applicants can get 4 points only if they have a score of at least CLB 5 in each of the 4 language abilities.

Second official languagePoints
At least CLB 5 in all of the 4 abilities4
CLB 4 or less in any of the 4 abilities0

Education (maximum 25 points)

If an applicant studied in Canada, he or she must have a certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian:

  • secondary (high school) or
  • post-secondary school

If an applicant has obtained foreign education, he or she must have:

  • an Educational Credential Assessment report from an approved agency showing that applicant’s foreign education is equal to a completed certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian:
    • secondary (high school) or
    • post-secondary school

Applicants must include their Canadian credential or their foreign credential and Educational Credential Assessment (an equivalent assessment requirement to prove credential is at par with Canadian standards) report when applicants submit their application.

  • Check equivalent points based on applicant’s educational attainment

Work experience (maximum 15 points)

An applicant can get points for the number of years the applicant spent doing full-time paid work (at least 30 hours per week, or an equal amount of part-time [15 hours per week for 24 months]) at skill type 0, or skill levels A or B of the 2016 National Occupational Classification.

To get selection factor points, applicant’s work experience will count if it was:

  • in Canada or abroad
  • while applicant was studying
  • while being self-employed

Check the National Occupational Classification (NOC)

The NOC is a list of all the occupations in the Canadian labour market and is used to classify jobs in the Canadian economy. It describes duties, skills, talents and work settings for different jobs.

Applicants will need to identify the “NOC code” for each job that they want to include in their Express Entry profile. Applicants much check this table of NOC to find the information that best matches each of their past jobs.

Applicants need this information again, so they are advised make a copy of it.

If the description and list of main duties match what an applicant did at his/her job(s), applicants can count this experience for points. Use this chart to find the number of points based on the number of years of working experience.

Experience Points
1 year9
2-3 years11
4-5 years13
6 or more years15

Age (maximum 12 points)

Applicants can get points based on applicant’s age on the day his/her application is received.

AgePoints (max 12)
Under 180
18 - 3512
3611
3710
389
398
407
416
425
434
443
452
461
47 and older0

Arranged employment in Canada (maximum 10 points)

Applicants can get points if they receive a job offer of at least one year from a Canadian employer. They must get the job offer before they apply to come to Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker.

A valid job offer has to be:

  • for continuous, paid, full-time work (minimum of 30 hours/week) that is:
    • not seasonal
    • for at least 1 year
  • in an occupation listed as Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A or B of the NOC.

Canadian government must be convinced that:

  • applicants are able to do the job offered to them
  • applicants will be able to become licensed or certified when in Canada (if the occupation is regulated in Canada)

To get 10 points for a valid job offer, one of these situations must also apply.

Situation 1

Applicant currently work in Canada on a work permit and he/she meets all of the following conditions:

  • Applicant’s work permit is valid both when he/she applies and when the permanent resident visa is issued (or applicant is allowed to work in Canada without a work permit when his/her visa is issued).
  • The government of Canada issued applicant’s work permit based on a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada in an occupation listed under skill type 0 or skill level A or B of the NOC.
  • Applicant is working for an employer named on his/her work permit.
  • That employer has made a valid job offer based on an applicant being accepted as a skilled worker.

Situation 2

Applicant currently works in Canada in a job that is exempt from the LMIA requirement because of one of the following:

  • an international agreement (such as, the North American Free Trade Agreement) or
  • significant benefit to Canadian interests or
  • a federal-provincial agreement

Applicant must also meet all of the following conditions:

  • Applicant’s work permit is valid both when he/she applies and when the permanent resident visa is issued (or applicant is allowed to work in Canada without a permit when his/her permanent resident visa is issued).
  • Applicant’s current employer has made a valid job offer based on applicant being accepted as a skilled worker.
  • Applicant is currently working for the employer specified on applicant’s work permit.
  • Applicant have been working for that employer for at least 1 year, continuous full-time or part-time equivalent.

Situation 3

Applicant must meet all of the following conditions:

  • Applicant currently doesn’t have a work permit, or don’t plan to work in Canada before he/she gets a permanent resident visa.
  • An employer has a LMIA.
  • That employer has made the applicant a valid job offer based on that LMIA and on applicant being accepted as a skilled worker.

Situation 4

Applicant must meet all of the following conditions:

  • Applicant have a valid work permit or are allowed to work in Canada without a work permit.
  • Applicant is currently working in Canada in a job that is exempt from a LMIA, but it is not under an international, federal-provincial agreement or because of significant benefit to Canadian interests.
  • An employer other than the one the applicant is currently working for:
    • has a LMIA
    • has made the applicant a valid job offer based on that LMIA and on applicant being accepted as a skilled worker.

LMIAs and valid job offers

  • Applicant can’t get a LMIA (the employer must do this).
  • Employment and Social Development Canada will only confirm valid job offers for occupations listed in skill type 0, or skill level A or B, of the NOC.

Adaptability (maximum 10 points)

An applicant and his/her spouse or common-law partner who will immigrate with them to Canada can earn points for adaptability.

An applicant or his/her spouse can earn a maximum of 10 points by combining any of the elements below. These elements assess how well applicant and his/her spouse are likely to settle in Canada.

AdaptabilityDescriptionPoints (max 10)
Your spouse or partner’s language levelApplicant's spouse or common-law partner has a language level in either English or French at CLB 4 level or higher in all 4 language abilities (speaking, listening, reading and writing).5
Your past studies in CanadaApplicant has completed at least 2 academic years of full-time study (in a program at least 2 years long) at a secondary or post-secondary school in Canada.5
Your spouse or partner’s past studies in CanadaApplicant's spouse or common-law partner completed at least 2 academic years of full-time study (in a program at least 2 years long) at a secondary or post-secondary school in Canada.5
Your past work in CanadaApplicant did at least 1 year of full-time work in Canada.10
Your spouse or common-law partner’s past work in CanadaApplicant's spouse or partner did at least 1 year of full-time work in Canada on a valid work permit or while authorized to work in Canada.5
Arranged employment in CanadaApplicant earned points for having arranged employment.5
Relatives in CanadaApplicant, or his/her spouse or common-law partner, have a relative who is living in Canada, 18 years or older and a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

This relative must be a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild,
applicant or his/her spouse’s sibling (child of applicant or his/her spouse’s parent)
applicant or his/her spouse’s aunt or uncle (by blood or marriage)
applicant or his/her spouse’s niece or nephew (grandchild of applicant or his/her spouse’s parent)
5
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