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I have 389 points for Express Entry. How can I increase my score?

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

I have 389 points for Express Entry. How can I increase my score?

The last Express Entry round of Invitations to Apply, issued on May 17th ,had a cutoff point score of 415. Previous 2017 cutoffs were:

May 4, 2017

423

April 19, 2017

415

April 12, 2017

423

April 5, 2017

431

March 24, 2017

441

March 1, 2017

434

February 22, 2017

441

February 8, 2017

447

January 25, 2017

453

January 11, 2017

459

January 4, 2017

468

Although the points have more than halved since the very first ITA score cutoff of 886 points on January 31, 2015, there are many people in the high 300s waiting for the points to drop more. It is clear that the points are trending downward with a difference of 53 points between the highest and lowest scores so far in 2017. Rather than just waiting and hoping the points are dropped enough for you to receive an Invitation to Apply, look to see what other areas you can qualify for to increase your scores.

Remember that as you get older, you begin losing points once you pass your 30th birthday; even as you gain more work experience in hopes of increasing your points. Whether you have a candidate profile as a single person or as married/common-law, there may be ways to increase your points enough to get to the 415 threshold and increase your chances of an ITA.

  • Retake your language assessment. If you are a single applicant, each of the four categories of the language assessment are 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.
  • If you are married / common-law, then each of the four categories of the language assessment are 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.
  • 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.
  • If you are married / common-law, then the maximum amount of points you can receive for the second language is 22.
  • 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.
  • Have your education assessed. You do not have to have a Bachelor or Master 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.
  • If you are applying as married / common-law, then your high school diploma is worth 28 points, one year post-secondary diploma is 84 points and a two-year post-secondary is worth 91 points. Your spouse / common-law partner can add 2 points for high school diploma, 6 points for a one year post-secondary program and 7 points for a two-year post-secondary program.
  • 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.
  • If you are applying as married / common-law – assess the accompanying partner as the principal applicant and see if he/she will get more points.
  • Finally, 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.

You can review the in-depth information on the criteria for the points here.


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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