Express Entry: How to get a high Comprehensive Ranking System score
Only the highest scoring candidates are invited by IRCC to immigrate to Canada.
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is used to rank skilled worker candidates who wish to immigrate to Canada through Express Entry. Express Entry is the system that manages applications for Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and is the primary way the Government of Canada welcomes economic class immigrants.
Express Entry administers three separate programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and the Canadian Experience Class Program (CEC). Each of the three programs has eligibility criteria that candidates must meet before being eligible to apply.
Candidates will receive a CRS score if eligible. The score is based on various characteristics such as age, education, language skills and work experience.
The CRS is used to identify candidates who are most likely to succeed in the Canadian job market. Federal government research shows that young and middle-aged newcomers with high levels of work experience, education and language skills integrate best into Canada’s labor market.
The CRS contains three factors:
- Core Human Capital Factors
- Skills Transferability Factors
- Additional factors
There is a total of 1,200 points available under the CRS.
For candidates without an accompanying spouse or common law partner, there are:
- A maximum of 500 points available for core human capital factors;
- A maximum of 100 points for skill transferability factors; and
- 600 points available for additional factors.
For candidates with an accompanying spouse or common law partner, there are
- A maximum of 460 points available for core human capital factors of the principal applicant;
- A maximum of 40 points for the core human capital factors of the spouse or common-law partner;
- A maximum of 100 points available for skill transferability factors; and
- 600 points available for additional factors.
A candidate may also get points for French speaking ability and if they have a sibling in Canada is who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
Core Human Capital Factors
Core human capital factors include age, education level, first language proficiency, second language proficiency, and Canadian work experience.
For example, age is one of the more influential factors. If you apply between the ages of 20-29, you will automatically receive 110 CRS points.
Skill Transferability Factors
Candidates are awarded a maximum of 100 points for the skills transferability factor under this category. There are five combinations of skill transferability, each worth a maximum of 50 points. They include:
- Education and Canadian work experience
- Education and language ability
- Language ability and non-Canadian work experience
- Canadian and non-Canadian work experience
- Certificate of qualification in a trade and language ability
Under the Additional Factors category, candidates can earn an additional 600 points if they have an Enhanced Nomination Certificate from a Canadian province (excluding Quebec). This essentially secures an invitation to apply in the upcoming Express Entry draw.
Other factors that add to CRS points in this category include having a qualifying job offer or placement from a Canadian employer, completion of a Canadian study experience, demonstration of sufficient French and English proficiency, and having a sibling in Canada.
How to improve your CRS score
Language is a valuable factor that, when combined with other factors, can lead to a maximum of 310 CRS points, or 320 if the applicant is married or in a common-law relationship. This is a great way to improve your score since candidates can gain language proficiency above the minimum requirements.
Additionally, language is a valuable asset as it is scored in several sections of the CRS, including human capital factors, spouse factors, skills transferability factors, and other factor categories.
Education is another way to improve your CRS points, as it counts towards a maximum of 250 CRS points. Candidates can enhance their education points by completing a degree or by taking an Additional Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for an existing degree.
Gaining additional work experience or better documenting work experience may be one way to improve your CRS score. Candidates with seemingly unskilled positions may actually be performing duties considered skilled in Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) and can ultimately improve their score.
Additionally, candidates may want to consider whether their spouse or common-law partner would be a better principal applicant. A principal applicant may have a lower CRS score than his or her partner, so it is beneficial for couples to compare CRS scores.
Finally, Express Entry candidates who are nominated by a Canadian province for permanent residence can earn an additional 600 points towards their CRS points.
Should you enter the pool with a low score?
If you are eligible, it is beneficial to be in the Express Entry pool as it increases your chances of successfully immigrating to Canada. Access to the swimming pool is also free.
Also, CRS cut-off scores are always fluctuating, so if you think your score is low, it may end up being good enough to get an invitation to apply for permanent residence. Also, in the pool, you can work towards improving your score in the ways described above, such as gaining more qualifying professional work experience or retaking a language test.
Also, while in the pool, you may receive an invitation to apply for a provincial nomination, or you may receive a Canadian job offer, which may give you a high enough score to qualify for an ITA for permanent residence.