Will the CRS score go down in 2024?

Asheesh Moosapeta
Published: January 9, 2024

2023 was a landmark year for Canadian immigration, filled with more new policies, measures, and changes than seen in many years previous.

However, common themes remain, with one of the most enduring being the importance of Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores in the immigration journeys of Express Entry candidates. Last year’s Express Entry draws saw higher CRS scores than average (ranging as high as 791 in some cases), leaving many wondering if the coming year will see more of the same.

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What can we expect in 2024?

The short answer is that it is difficult to predict how CRS scores will continue in 2024. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that CRS scores are largely determined by the make-up of the Express Entry pool throughout the year. More specifically, as the spread of CRS scores changes through the year, this will impact both the minimum CRS scores needed for a draw and may further impact the draw size.

However, another key factor that makes predicting CRS scores in 2024 difficult is the introduction of category-based draws in 2023. These are targeted draws based on Express Entry categories that reflect labour market and demographic needs in Canada. Specifically, these categories are:

  • Healthcare occupations;
  • STEM occupations;
  • Trade occupations;
  • Transport occupations;
  • Agriculture and agri-food occupations; and
  • French language proficiency.

Since these categories reflect targeted groups that Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has identified as important for immigration, candidates who fit into this category can often receive invitations to apply (ITAs) for permanent residence, regardless of comparatively lower CRS scores (making predicting future cut-off scores even more difficult). Though this is the case, it is likely that most candidates will benefit from first maximising their CRS score before attempting to receive an ITA through one of these category-based draws.

The last key factor to consider is the inclusion of Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) candidates within the Express Entry draws. These candidates receive provincial nominations through Express Entry aligned PNP streams, which give eligible candidates an extra 600 CRS points—further skewing overall cut-off scores due to this boost.

The remainder of this article will track and graph the CRS scores for general, PNP and category-based draws throughout 2023. Note that dates for Express Entry draws are given in the format “dd/mm/yy”.

General/All-program draws

All-program draws consider candidates from the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). Before the introduction of category-based draws earlier in 2023, this was the standard format for Express Entry draws, with candidates being picked solely for their CRS score rankings.

Throughout the year, 19 all-program draws delivered 76,700 ITAs, with the highest CRS score cut-off at 561 points and the lowest at 481 points.

A graph of all-program CRS draws that occurred during 2023.

PNP draws

In 2023 there were five PNP draws, that yielded 4,396 ITAs to candidates. The lowest CRS score cut-off for this group was 691, and the highest was 791.

Draw DateCRS Cut-off

Healthcare occupations

Healthcare occupations included candidates in the Express Entry pool who had experience in healthcare related professions, encompassing nursing, doctors, physicians, and many other job titles. In 2023 there were three healthcare draws, delivering 5,600 ITAs. The highest recorded CRS score for this group was 476, while the lowest was 431.

Draw DateCRS Cut-off

STEM occupations

Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) occupations included candidates in the Express Entry pool who had experience in occupations within these four connected fields, including civil engineers, software developers, mathematicians, web designers and more. In 2023 there were two healthcare draws delivering 6,400 ITAs.

Draw DateCRS Cut-off

Trade occupations

Trade occupations included candidates who had experience in professions like carpenters, plumbers, electricians, machine fitters and more. In 2023 there were two transport Express Entry draws, yielding 2,500 ITAs for candidates.

Draw DateCRS Cut-off

Transport occupations

Transport occupation draws considered candidates with experience in professions like transport truck drivers, air traffic controllers, aircraft assemblers, managers in transportation, and more. In 2023 two transport draws yielded 1,670 ITAs to candidates.

Draw DateCRS Cut-off

Agriculture and Agri-food occupations

Agriculture and Agri-food draws considered candidates with professional experience as butchers, agriculture service contractors, farm supervisors, and more. Two Agriculture and Agri-food draws in 2023 yielded 1,000 ITAs to candidates.

Draw DateCRS Cut-off

French language proficiency

French language draws targeted candidates with French ability equivalent to a level 7 in all four language abilities (reading, writing, speaking and listening) according to the Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique Canadiens (NCLC), Canada’s French language grading system. Six French language draws this year yielded 8,700 ITAs to candidates, with the lowest CRS score cut-off reaching 375, and the highest cut-off reaching 486.

Draw DateCRS Cut-off

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