6 Ways to Improve your Express Entry Ranking

Use these tips and collect more points to obtain a higher score in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS): 

  1. Obtain a Job Offer from a valid Canadian employer before applying
  2. Improve English/ French score and retake Language Test
  3. Receive a Provincial Nominee under the Provincial Nominee Program(PNP)
  4. Rethink who should apply as the Principal Applicant
  5. Study/ Work in Canada first as a Temporary Resident
  6. Claim Extra Points!

How Does the Comprehensive Ranking System Work?

The highest-ranking applicants will be invited to apply for Permanent Residence.

Reviewing the CRS categories and points distribution can help applicants understand what Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is looking for in an Express Entry candidate.

The Express Entry program uses the Comprehensive Ranking System to assign points to candidates to calculate an overall score for each applicant. The highest-ranking applicants will be invited to apply for Permanent Residence. Rounds of invitations occur multiple times throughout the year.

The CRS assigns points for different factors under the categories below. There is a limited number of points available for each factor.

CRS Categories

  1. Core / Human Capital
  2. Skill Transferability
  3. Spouse / Common-Law Partner
  4. Additional Points

1. The factors considered in the Core / Human Capital category are the following:

  • Age
  • Level of Education
  • Language Proficiency
  • Canadian Work Experience
Core/Human Capital FactorsMaximum Points per Factor
With a spouse or common-law partnerWithout a spouse or common-law partner
Age100110
Level of Education140150
Official Languages Proficiency150160
Canadian Work Experience7080

2. The factors considered in the Skill Transferability category for a maximum of an additional 100 points are the following:

    • Education
      • with Strong Language Proficiency or Canadian Work Experience
    • Foreign Work Experience
      • with Strong Language Proficiency or Canadian Work Experience
    • Certificate of Qualification
      • with Strong Language Proficiency
Skill Transferability Factors (Maximum 100 Points Total)Maximum Points per Factor
EducationMaximum 50 Points
A post-secondary degree and strong English or French language proficiency 50
A post-secondary degree and Canadian work experience 50
Foreign Work ExperienceMaximum 50 Points
Foreign work experience and strong English or French language proficiency50
Foreign work experience and Canadian work experience50
Certificate of QualificationMaximum 50 Points
A certificate of qualification for people in trade occupations and strong English or French language proficiency 50

3. The factors considered in the Spouse or Common-Law Partner category for a maximum of 40 points are the following:

  • Level of Education
  • Official Language Proficiency
  • Canadian Work Experience following:
Spouse/Common-law FactorsMaximum Points per Factor
Level of Education10
English or French Language Proficiency20
Canadian Work Experience10

 4. The factors considered in the Additional Points category for a maximum of an additional 600 points are the following:

  • Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident Sibling in Canada
  • French Language Skills
  • Canadian Post-secondary Education
  • Pre-arranged Employment in Canada
  • Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Nomination

Tips to Improve Your Score

Improve your score to change your life

1Obtain a Job Offer from a valid Canadian employer before applying

An extra 200 points are available for applicants with pre-arranged employment!

Although it is not required, applicants who receive a job offer from a valid Canadian employer have a greater chance of being invited to apply for PR status because they will receive extra points. Applicants with job offers must submit the employer’s information and a Labor Market Impact Assessment.

Note: The job offer AND employer must be valid. Visit the Government of Canada website for detailed criteria.

2. Improve English / French score and re-take Language Test

Work to improve your English / French skills and re-take an IRCC-approved language test!

All applicants must submit a language test from a testing site approved by the IRCC. However, it may be worth it for many candidates to practice their English and/or French skills and retake the test.

Note: These language tests evaluate your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Consider practicing in the areas you are weakest in.

If you have sufficient English skills and are confident you will receive high points in that category, why stop there? Applicants can receive extra points for scoring well on a Second Language Test. Consider working on your French skills and supplement your application with the Second Language Test.

3. Receive a Provincial Nominee under the Provincial Nominee Program.

Receiving a nomination from a Province adds an astounding 600 points to your score!

The Provincial Nominee Program allows different provinces (excluding Quebec) to use the database of Express Entry applicants to invite those who qualify to apply for PR in their specific region.

Receiving an invitation from a Province is the best way to strengthen your application. 

4. Rethink who should apply as the Principal Applicant

Applicants applying with a spouse or common-law partner can strategically apply together!

You can apply together if you are applying with a spouse or common-law partner. In this case, we recommend you use the Express Entry points calculator to estimate each applicant’s potential points. The applicant who is most likely to score the highest should apply as the Principal Applicant. The merits of the non-principal applicant will boost the higher-scoring principal applicant.

NoteThe Express Entry points calculator provides a general idea of the score you can expect but should not be taken as a guarantee. This tool’s results cannot be included in your application.

5. Study/ Work in Canada first under a Temporary Permit

Apply for a temporary work or study permit before Express Entry!

It may better suit some applicants who could use a more significant boost to their CRS score to apply for a temporary work or study permit in Canada. Once you are in Canada working/ studying temporarily, you can consider applying for Express Entry. The Express Entry program gives preference to applicants who have legally studied or worked in Canada.

If you are approved for temporary work or study in Canada to later apply for PR status, you must still always comply with the limits of your visa.

Foreign nationals applying for a temporary visa have the right to dual-intent, meaning they intend to study or work temporarily and later apply for PR. However, it must be noted that an essential aspect of applying for a temporary permit is that the officer must be confident that the applicant will comply with the visa’s limits, including leaving Canada before the visa expires.

6. Claim Additional Points!

The IRCC offers a maximum of 600 additional points!

Applicants who qualify for the additional categories should use the opportunity to demonstrate in their application that they are eligible.

According to the 2019 Express Entry Year-End Report, 69% of applicants did not claim any additional points in their application. Therefore, we recommend you take advantage of the categories that you can!

Additional PointsMaximum 600 points
Brother or sister living in Canada who is a citizen or permanent resident of Canada 15
Scored NCLC 7 or higher on all 4 French language skills AND scored CLB 4 or lower in English (or didn’t take an English test) 25
Scored NCLC 7 or higher on all 4 French language skills AND scored CLB 5 or higher on all 4 English skills 50
Post-secondary education in Canada with a credential of 1-2 years15
Post-secondary education in Canada with a credential of 3 years or longer30
Arranged employment in a Senior Management Occupation NOC 00200
Arranged employment in any other highly skilled occupation NOC 0, A, or B50
Provincial or territorial nomination600

Note: Visit the Government of Canada website or contact Cohen Brosh Law Offices for more information on the full pathway eligibility requirements and restrictions.

Bonus Tip: Our #1 Recommendation

Seek the expertise of an RCIC or lawyer before applying!

Above all, we recommend potential applicants use the help of an RCIC or lawyer. Contact Cohen Brosh Law Offices for personalized advice from experienced professionals.

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