Improve Express Entry CRS Score: Canadian Immigration Guide

Express Entry candidates can raise their CRS score and improve their chance of getting an ITA.

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score is a key factor in determining whether an applicant will be invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence through the Express Entry system.

High CRS scores are correlated with high chances of receiving an ITA. If you are not confident that your CRS score is high enough, there are some factors (listed below) within your control that can raise it.

The CRS is based on Canadian government studies of economic class immigrants and their outcomes. This research is factored into the system and used to predict a candidate's potential for success in the Canadian labour market.

CRS components

A candidate has a maximum of 1,200 points to obtain under the core, spousal, and skill transferability components—and an additional 600 points are possible under the additional point component.

The main difference is that points are split down & distributed differently. Only for the purposes of this article, we will be assuming that the candidate does not have an accompanying spouse/wife.

In the additional points section, a candidate can receive points for having a provincial nomination (600), employment arranged in Canada (50 or 200 depending on the type of job)—or if they are well-educated by Canadian standards: 15 or 30 points for postsecondary credentials. French language proficiency is worth 25 to 50 points, and candidates who have at least one sibling living in Canada get 15 bonus points.

Because the CRS is a dynamic ranking system, candidates in the Express Entry pool are required to update their profiles if there is any change in circumstances that could affect their score. There are several automatic updates that happen without prompting, including birthday alerts and expired language exam notifications. For example, by updating your profile with a valid job offer, you may see your score increase. You will also raise it by increasing your language test score or providing an educational credential assessment for any education acquired abroad

Start by checking your score

If you are curious about your score, you can check it before applying for Express Entry. However, only IRCC will be able to give you an official tally once they process all of the documents related to your application. Online calculators, including IRCCs, are only as good as the information you put into them. And while they may be useful in helping to determine your eligibility for certain programs or benefits—they're not necessarily going to be 100 percent accurate and can give an inflated view of what your final result will look like

After doing your best to create an outstanding personal profile, you can get a general idea of where it puts you in the Express Entry pool. Once you have established a score, it will be easier to see what improvements might benefit you and in what area.

If you are concerned that your CRS score might not be high enough to receive an invitation to apply (ITA), there are some ways in which you can increase it.

Apply early

Age is one of the most influential factors in the CRS system. If you are between the ages of 20-29 when you apply, your application will be awarded 110 CRS points automatically. After this, the number of points for age decreases until a person is 45 years old—at which point that person receives no more CRS scores. However, once you pass 30, the system begins to deduct points from your score. Applying early can give you an advantage over other applicants by helping to maximize your score.

Improve your language score

Language proficiency is one of the deciding factors. Candidates are tested on four skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Each ability is examined separately by the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB). It takes a CLB 4 to get started gaining points, but there's a big leap from level 6 to 9. If you raise your score to CLB 7, for example, that is already 8 more points added per ability to the total. To be eligible for the FSWP, candidates must have a CLB 7 in reading, speaking listening, and writing.

If your second language is French, you can get up to 6 points for that proficiency. If French is your first language, you will receive a point increase if all four of the following are true: You scored NCLC 7 or higher on all four French language skills, and you scored CLB 4 or higher on all English skills. You will receive up to 50 additional points if you have a CLB 5 and an NCLC 7.

Include your foreign work experience

Foreign work experience alone does not count towards your CRS score and will not automatically result in an advantage for you. However, if you have skilled work experience and a high CLB, your chances of success are greater. in fact, skilled workers applying to the Federal Skilled Worker Program will already have one year of skilled work experience and meet a minimum standard of CLB 7.

While having more than a year of foreign work experience in your skilled occupation will not guarantee you an invitation to apply for permanent residence, it can improve your CRS score. For instance, a combination of one year of foreign work experience and a CLB score of 7 is worth 13 points. If you have two or more years of relevant experience gained abroad, you can receive up to 25–50 additional points.

The rule is the same if you have experience in Canada. If you have one year of Canadian work experience and one year of foreign skilled work experience, you can get 13 CRS points. If you have more than two years under each category, your total may reach 50 points.

Get Canadian work experience

Candidates with Canadian work experience can be awarded up to 80 points based on the number of years they have worked in Canada. One year of skilled work experience in Canada can earn you 40 points toward obtaining permanent residence.

A Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is one of the most common ways to gain experience. Upon completing their education in Canada, PGWP holders can work for up to three years, depending on the program's length. This experience will help them gain a higher CRS score when they apply later on.

Get another credential

If the benefit of getting an additional credential outweighs the risk, you'll likely see your score increase.

If you have already completed a program of three or more years, and received one certificate, diploma, or degree as evidence of that work—you receive 112 points. If you complete an additional one-year program after this and obtain another certification/diploma/degree—you can raise your score to 119.

Do you have any siblings who live in Canada?

You can score another 15 points if you have a sibling who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

PNP advantage

Some provinces use the Express Entry pool to search for potential candidates eligible for their Provincial Nominee Programs. In order to fill its labour force gaps and remain competitive, the province is recruiting skilled immigrants who can contribute positively to its economy.

A provincial nomination may result in an increase of 600 points to your CRS. No factor can have a greater effect on your CRS score than this. A provincial nomination is almost a guarantee that you will get an ITA.


Although your chances of receiving an ITA are low if you have a low CRS score, it does not mean that you will never receive one.

On July 6, the federal government resumed its Express Entry draws. In the most recent round of issuing visas, over 1000 candidates received an ITA each time and scores were not identical. It’s worth submitting your profile as soon as possible and working to increase your score while you wait for IRCC to issue an invitation. You always have the opportunity to influence your score.

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