To find out the CRS score required to receive an invitation to apply, check out the figures from the latest Express Entry draw.
Understanding the Comprehensive Ranking System: How are CRS points calculated?
You’ve determined your eligibility for one of the Express Entry-aligned programs, created an Express Entry profile, and been assigned a CRS score… now you just sit back and wait to be invited to apply, right? Well, unless you have been assigned a high CRS score, this is indisputably the wrong approach!
By adopting a passive attitude towards your Express Entry profile, you may not be awarded all of the points you may be entitled to, and you may be missing opportunities to improve your rank among the candidates under the Comprehensive Ranking System. You have created a profile, but the CRS is a dynamic system and your score is not “locked in” — you can take steps to improve it.
Some improvements may only nudge your CRS score up a few points, but these points could make all the difference. Other improvements can bring as many as 600 additional CRS points, essentially guaranteeing that you would be invited to apply in a subsequent draw from the pool.
Checklist: Have you claimed all the points you’re eligible for?
There are a few areas of the CRS score where you may not have claimed all of the points you can get. Take a look at this list and make sure that you’ve claimed all the factors that apply to your situation.
Sibling in Canada
Do you, or your spouse/common-law partner, have a brother or sister living in Canada as a citizen or permanent resident? This relationship can be through blood, adoption, marriage, or common-law partnership. If so, just prove the relationship and watch your CRS score increase by 15 points.
This tip is aimed particularly at Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) candidates. Unlike Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) candidates, CEC and FSTC candidates do not have to provide an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) or Canadian credential upon entry to the pool. What might that mean? It might mean that you are leaving up to 200 CRS points on the table, unclaimed. Education is worth 150 points in its own right, and up to 50 more in combination with Canadian work experience and/or language ability.
As well, on your Express Entry profile you should mention all eligible education you’ve completed. You did a one-year diploma eight years ago that wasn’t related to your current job? It doesn’t matter, you should still claim this on your Express Entry profile and obtain an ECA for the credential (unless it was completed in Canada). Express Entry awards points for education regardless of the area of study and whether or not it relates to your current work.
You can claim points for both English and French under the CRS. If you are capable in both languages, make sure that you take an approved language test in both English and French to ensure that you’re getting as many points as possible. Plus, there are bonus points available to bilingual candidates and certain PNP streams that are only open to French-speakers.
If you are competent in both English and French, don’t miss out on the opportunity this affords you.
If you’ve claimed all the points that you’re eligible for and your score is still below the competitive range, you should consider making an effort to increase your score using the methods described below.
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Faster Options: Short-term ways to increase your CRS score
Here is our top recommendation for a fast way to improve your CRS score. This can be completed in a matter of weeks, if you put in the time and effort required to succeed.
Retake your language test
If you haven’t maximized your approved language test scores, then this option could be the key to you getting a competitive CRS score.
Did you know that language ability is worth up to 260 CRS points in total for a single candidate, or up to 270 points for a couple? Not only is language ability the most valued human capital factor under the Comprehensive Ranking System, but it is also a factor where incremental gains can make a huge difference.
Extra points are accumulated for each improvement in test results across the four language abilities (speaking, listening, reading, writing), but the magic threshold is when a candidate achieves a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 9 in each ability. Why? Because in addition to the points gained for improvements to that level, getting a CLB 9 in each ability also triggers a jump in points under the skills transferability factors (the exact jump depends on your levels of education and work experience). One small step in your language ability, one giant leap for your CRS score.
Skill transferability factors can result in a maximum of 100 points, so be sure you get as many of these points as you can.
To reach CLB 9 on the IELTS General Training exam, you have to achieve the following minimum scores:
- Listening: 8.0
- Speaking 7.0
- Reading: 7.0
- Writing: 7.0
To reach CLB 9 on the CELPIP general exam, you must achieve a minimum score of 9 in each of the four abilities.
Everything is summarized in the table below.
|Factor||Sub-factor||Additional information||Proof required||Potential points increase|
|Sibling in Canada||N/A||Sibling must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Canada||Passport/PR card; proof of residence in Canada; proof of relation between siblings||15 points|
|Education||Obtain an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)||Applicable to CEC and FSTC candidates only||ECA document||250 points (Up to 150 for education alone; Up to 100 within skills transferability)|
|Previous study in Canada (1 or 2-year study program)||Must have completed the study program||Degree / diploma / certificate||15 points|
|Previous study in Canada, either 3 years or longer in duration / Master’s degree / entry-to-practice professional degree / Doctorate.||Must have completed the study program||Degree / diploma / certificate||30 points|
|Language||Prove a higher first language ability||Re-take a language test and improve your results||IELTS / CELPIP / TEF / TCF||162 points (Up to 112 points for improved results; Up to 50 within skills transferability)|
|Prove ability in a second official language||French speakers obtain additional bonus, as well as points for second language||IELTS / CELPIP / TEF / TCF||54 points (Up to 24 for second language ability; 15/30-point bonus for French speakers)|
|Work||Complete extra skilled work experience outside Canada||Accumulate points under skills transferability in combination with language ability and/or Canadian work experience||Self-declared (must be proven later by a reference letter)||100 points|
|Complete skilled work experience in Canada||For every year (up to 5 years), you accumulate points; even 1 year can bring lots of points||Employment records; tax documents||180 points (80 for Canadian work alone; up to 100 within skills transferability)|
|Job offer||Skilled occupation (NOC 0, A or B)||A job offer in a professional, managerial, or technical position||LMIA / job offer letter from current employer in Canada while on a closed work permit (other conditions apply)||50 points|
|Senior Managerial Position (NOC Major Group 00)||These positions are generally for highly skilled, experienced candidates in select occupations||LMIA / job offer letter from current employer in Canada while on a closed work permit (other conditions apply)||200 points|
|Provincial nomination||N/A||Provinces & territories can nominate candidates in the pool through the PNPs – the single most valuable factor under the CRS!||Provincial Nomination Certificate||600 points|
|Spouse / Partner factors||Education||This can be outside or inside Canada||ECA / proof of study in Canada||10 points|
|Language||N/A||IELTS / CELPIP / TEF / TCF||20 points|
|Canadian work experience||Even 1 year gives you 5 extra points||Employment records; tax documents||10 points|
|Make the spouse / partner the principal applicant||Double-check who would have the higher CRS score||Submit a new Express Entry profile||Variable|