The government made public for the first time this week the details of the ranking system it will use to give skilled immigrants express entry into Canada within six months, starting Jan.1.

A total of 1,200 points will be allotted under the new system, but there's no minimum points level required to qualify. Only the "highest-ranking" candidates will be "invited to apply" for permanent residency.

A maximum of 600 points will be given to those who receive a permanent job offer from a Canadian employer or who have been nominated for immigration by a province or territory. These are the candidates that will be "picked first," Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said Monday in a written statement.

Up to 500 points will be allotted for age, education level, language proficiency and work experience in Canada, while a maximum of 100 points will be allotted for a combination of education level, foreign work experience and a certificate in the trades.

According to Statistics Canada's 2011 National Household Survey, immigrants to Canada are increasingly younger, more educated, and speak more languages.

The median age of newcomers in 2011 was 31.7 years, compared with 47.4 for the total immigrant population. A greater number of newcomers between 2006 to 2011 had an undergraduate degree in comparison to those who immigrated to Canada before 2006. Among recent immigrants, 66.8 per cent were able to speak English or French and one or more non-official languages, in comparison with 61.2 per cent of all immigrants.

Here are three examples of how prospective candidates could be ranked under the new system:

27-year-old software engineer and designer without a spouse

  • Age: 110 points.
  • Equivalent of a master's degree: 135 points.
  • Proficient in either English or French: up to 136 points.
  • Proficient in a second official language: up to 24 points.
  • Experience working in Canada: up to 80 points.
  • Transferable skills: up to 100 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.

32-year-old computer programmer and interactive media developer without a spouse

  • Age: 94 points.
  • Post-secondary program credential of three years or longer: 120 points.
  • Fully proficient in English: up to 136 points.
  • Doesn't know French: 0 points.
  • Has never worked in Canada before: 0 points.
  • Transferable skills: up to 100 points.
  • Sub total: up to 450 out of 600 points.
  • Plus up to 600 points for a permanent job offer or a nomination from a province or territory.
  • Total: up to 1,050 points.

45-year-old financial and investment analyst with a spouse

  • Age: 0 points.
  • With the equivalent of an undergraduate university degree: 120 points
  • Proficient in either English or French: up to 128 points.
  • Proficient in a second official language: up to 22 points.
  • Experience working in Canada: up to 70 points.
  • Spouse factors: up to 40 points.
  • Transferable skills: up to 100 points.
  • Sub total: up to 480 points out of 600 points.
  • Plus up to 600 points for a permanent job offer or a nomination from a province or territory.
  • Total: up to 1,080 points.