Canadian Immigration News

How to Improve Your CRS Score in 7 Ways for Express Entry

5.5 minute read
"Launched in 2015, the federal Express Entry system is used to manage applications for the 3 Federal Economic Immigration Programs. Canadian immigration authorities use the Express Entry system to nominate applicants for permanent residence based on their skills and labor market needs. Express Entry applicants are ranked based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS score controls whether you will be invited to apply for permanent residence or not."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Apr 29, 2021
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Launched in 2015, the federal Express Entry system is used to manage applications for the 3 Federal Economic Immigration Programs. Canadian immigration authorities use the Express Entry system to nominate applicants for permanent residence based on their skills and labor market needs. 

Express Entry applicants are ranked based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS score controls whether you will be invited to apply for permanent residence or not. 

The federal government conducts an Express Entry draw almost every 2 weeks to issue Invitations to Apply (ITA) for the applicants of:

There are Express Entry options aligned with PNP streams offered by the several provinces and territories’ individual Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) to nominate applicants for provincial nomination. Provincial nomination can dramatically increase the CRS score, resulting in an ITA for permanent residency

What Happens to Your Application in the Express Entry System?

Your application remains in the system for 12 months. You can submit a new profile on the Express Entry system if you don't receive an ITA when making your first profile within a 12 month period. If you still meet the criteria for your chosen economic program, you can re-enter the system. 

Your profile will be given a CRS score based on the following criteria:

  • Skills and work experience
  • Education level
  • Language proficiency in English or French
  • Language proficiency and education level if applying with your spouse 
  • Employment offer supported by a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • Provincial Nomination for permanent residence
  • Additional factors like a connection to Canada in the form of relatives, and past work experience in Canada

Total CRS points that can be granted add up to 1200. These points are distributed as follows:

  • Provincial Nomination: 600 points
  • NOC Skill level 0 job offer with a positive LMIA: 200 points
  • NOC Skill level 0, A or B job offer with a positive LMIA: 50 points
  • Post-secondary study program that lasted 3 years completed in Canada: 30 points
  • Post-secondary Canadian education that lasted 1-2 years: 15 points
  • Other skills, work experience and education credentials: 500 points
  • Transferable skills: 100 points

Check out our Express Entry Draw Updates

How Can You Improve Your CRS Score?

You can improve your CRS score while your application is in the Express Entry system by brushing up on some skills. Some improvements could get you up to 600 points, others could nudge up your CRS score enough to make a difference. 

1. Improve Your Language Test Score:

Canada only accepts the following language test results:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
  • Test d'Evaluation de Français (TEF)

Improving language proficiency is the fastest way to improve your CRS score. You can do this by learning a second language or retaking your initial language test.

The highest level of proficiency on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) is 9. Scoring anything less gives you room for improvement. 

Learning a second language like French can get you an additional 22 points. If you are applying with a spouse, then it can get you 24 points. 

If you are bilingual, you can get both languages assessed to gain maximum points. 

2. Spouse/ Common-Law Partner Factors:

Applying with your spouse or common-law partner can boost your CRS score. You will score 10 additional points for education in or outside Canada. 

For language tests, you will get 20 points. Canadian work experience for 1 year will earn you 5-10 extra points. 

If your spouse has better credentials, they can become the principal applicant. Check the CRS score accordingly and submit a new Express Entry profile based on whose score is highest. 

3. Work Experience:

You can gain additional skill transferability points by accumulating work experience for more than 3 years in the last 5 years. 

Working outside Canada to improve your work experience can get you up to 100 additional points under the skills transferability combinations. 

If you gain additional experience in Canada, every 1 year of work experience can get you up to 180 points. 80 points for Canadian work experience alone and 100 within skills transferability combinations.

4. Education Level:

Completing a study program in Canada can significantly impact your CRS score.

Different education levels will get you different CRS scores:

Education Level

Additional Information


Education Credential Assessment (ECA) report for foreign degree 

For FSTC and CEC applicants only

250 points (150 points for education level alone and 100 within the skills transferability)

Study program in Canada for 1-2 years 

Completed study program

15 points

Study program that lasted more than 3 years or Master’s/PhD degree in Canada

Completed study program

30 points

5. Job Offer:

Obtaining an employment offer from an employer based in Canada can get you additional points. Getting a valid job offer for a skilled occupation (NOC 0, A or B) will get you an additional 50 points. The job offer must be supported by a positive LMIA and a job offer letter from the employer.

A job offer for a senior managerial position (NOC 0) will get you up to 200 points. These job offers are generally for highly skilled professionals in selected occupations. 

6. Provincial Nomination:

Receiving provincial nominations can dramatically increase your CRS points by 600. Applying for the Express Entry aligned PNP streams will get you 600 additional points on your CRS score, virtually guaranteeing an ITA in the next draw.

Applicants require an employment offer to succeed for most PNP streams. Different PNP streams target different in-demand occupations based on their local labor market needs.

7. Siblings in Canada:

Having a brother or sister who is a permanent resident or Canadian citizen can improve your chances of success. 

Having a sibling related by blood, adoption or marriage can get you up to 15 points. You will be required to submit proof of relationship like a birth certificate. 

How to Prepare for Express Entry Draws?

Suppose you get the Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence in an Express Entry draw. You will be required to submit reference letters within 60 days of receiving the invitation.

You must obtain these letters before the ITA is issued and prepare to submit them to the IRCC. 

These reference letters contain specific information about your skilled work experience for at least 6 years of employment in the last 10 years. 

IRCC requests initial documentation for your Express Entry application. Therefore, you must update certain documents to prepare them for submission. 

This includes making sure that your passport is not about to expire in 12-18 months. 

You must obtain official standard-issue documents like birth certificates with the time and place of your birth, including the name of at least 1 parent. 

You will also require proof of relationship with any claimed relative in Canada. This list is not exhaustive.

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