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11 Ways to Increase Your Express Entry CRS Score

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Permanent Residence and Express Entry Permanent

11 Ways to Increase Your Express Entry CRS Score


What Is Express Entry?

Canada has a point-based immigration application system called Express Entry that invites applicants to move to Canada based on how they score on qualifications such as age, experience, education language, family ties and other qualifications. Express Entry was launched in January 2015 and is designed to better align the skills of immigrants with the needs of the Canadian labour market. Learn more about Express Entry here.

Calculate Your Express Entry Score

Ackah Law's Express Entry calculator is a free tool to use as a guide to find out your score and whether you could qualify to become a Permanent Resident of Canada. Assuming all the information you entered on the calculator is correct, a score above 445 usually makes you eligible for Express Entry to Canada. This calculator should be used as a general guide of your eligibility. In order to verify your results with an experienced immigration professional legal, please book a consultation.

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What is CRS?

Express Entry uses a point-based Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Candidates will be ranked against other candidates using a point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System. Points are awarded using the information in their profile about their qualification to move to Canada.

Candidates with the highest scores in the pool will be issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA).

The very first ITA score cutoff was 886 points on January 31, 2015, and change for every Express Entry draw. Recent CRS minimum scores have been 476, 478, 437 and 467.

How to Improve Your Express Entry CRS Score

There are many people with scores in the high 300s waiting for the points to drop more. Instead of waiting and hoping that CRS scores will continue to go low enough for you to get an Invitation to Apply, there are things you can do to increase your CRS score.

You begin losing points once you pass your 30th birthday even as you gain more work experience to increase your points. Whether you are applying for Express Entry as a single person or as a married or common-law applicant, there are ways to increase your points enough to get to the 445 threshold and increase your chances of getting an ITA.

Here are 11 ways to boost your Express Entry CRS score:

1. Retake your language assessment. If you are a single applicant, each of the four categories of the language assessment is worth 34 points if you score at a Canadian Language Benchmark of 10 or higher. If you score 10 in each of the categories, that is 136 points.

2. If you are married or in a common-law marriage, then each of the four categories of the language assessment is worth 32 points if you are the Principal Applicant and score at a Canadian Language Benchmark of 10 or higher. If you score 10 in each of the categories, that is 128 points. However, if your spouse / common-law partner did not take a language assessment, you could be missing more points. A spouse / common-law partner can score up to 5 points for each category of the language assessment – that is 20 extra points if he/she scores at a Canadian Language Benchmark of 9 or higher.

3. If you can speak and read both of Canada’s official languages, then consider taking the language assessment for the second language. If you are a single applicant, this could give you up to 6 points per category (CLB of 9 or higher), which is up to 24 extra points.

4. If you are married or in a common-law marriage, then the maximum amount of points you can receive for the second language is 22.

5. Effective June 6, 2017, additional points will be awarded for candidates with strong French skills. Up to a total of 30 extra points can be earned.

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6. Have your education assessed. You do not have to have a Bachelor's or Master's degree to be awarded points for your education. If you are single and have the equivalent of a high school diploma, you are awarded 30 points. A one-year post-secondary program is worth 90 points and a two-year post-secondary program is worth 98 points.

Some degrees are assessed as Bachelors on WES but they carry points equal to Master’s Degree, such as Law, Dentistry, etc. You can review your WES with an immigration professional to check your eligibility for higher points.

    7. If you are applying as a married or common-law married person, then your high school diploma is worth 28 points, a one-year post-secondary diploma is 84 points and a two-year post-secondary is worth 91 points. Your spouse or common-law partner can add 2 points for a high school diploma, 6 points for a one-year post-secondary program and 7 points for a two-year post-secondary program.

    8. Skill Transferability – combination of education and language proficiency. By getting the most points possible on language and education, your skill transferability score will also increase. For example, if your language was assessed at level 9 or higher in all four categories and you have a one-year post-secondary credential, then you are awarded an additional 25 points.

    9. If you are applying as a married or common-law married person, assess the accompanying partner as the principal applicant and see if he/she will get more points.

    10. Effective June 6th, 2017, candidates with siblings who are over the age of 18 years and are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident will be awarded an additional 15 points.

    11. Special Express Entry categories under each Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) were also created to allow each province to nominate candidates that meet its policies and programs. Provincial nomination can dramatically increase an applicants’ CRS score.

      You can review the in-depth Canada IRCC criteria for awarding CRS points here.

      Express Entry candidates can stay in the pool for up to 12 months. If they do not get an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence within 12 months of submitting an Express Entry profile, they may submit a new profile. If they still meet the criteria, they can re-enter the pool.

      An immigration professional may review and suggest how to update your profile after it is submitted, which in some cases may add additional points. For further information regarding the Express Entry process, contact us today at (587) 324-2232 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.


      Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

      Founder/Managing Lawyer

      Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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