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CRS Scores: What they are and how to improve them

Q. I want to best prepare myself for the upcoming draws. How can I improve my CRS score? Submitted by Mohammed S.

The Express Entry system lets the IRCC create a pool of candidates who may be eligible to immigrate to Canada permanently. You must be eligible for one of the immigration programs in Express Entry to get into the pool. You get points based on the information in your profile, including your skills and experience. To be chosen from the pool and invited to apply, you need to have one of the highest-ranking scores when we send out invitations. If you are invited, you can apply for permanent residency.

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is the points-based system the IRCC uses to assess and score your profile and rank you in the Express Entry pool. The points you get from the CRS include a core set of points up to 600 and a set of additional points of up to 600. Your total score will be out of 1,200.

Core: Up to 600 points

  1. Skills and experience factors

  2. Spouse or common-law partner factors, such as their language skills and education

  3. Skills transferability, including education and work experience

Additional: Up to 600 points

  1. Canadian degrees, diplomas, or certificates

  2. a valid job offer

  3. a nomination from a province or territory

  4. a brother or sister living in Canada who is a citizen or permanent resident

  5. strong French language skills

Core points + Additional points = your total score

Knowing how they assess your score is one thing, but how do you improve your score to give yourself the best chance at an invitation?

Small steps in a few categories can be better than a big step in one category

Someone with a high score in education may think they are set and they will be invited on that alone, but neglect their work experience or their spouse points and miss their opportunity. A good approach is to consider all the categories and see where you can even make small improvements.

Your spouse matters

Education alone isn't always king. A spouse with real work experience in a labour market that is in need in Canada, may result in a better score. Couple that with higher language proficiency and the best applicant may be your spouse, not you.

Alternatively, applying with a spouse may lower your score. An option is to not apply with them as accompanying you initially and wait until you have obtained Permanent Residency before sponsoring them to join you.

Pouvez-vous parler Anglais? What about French?

Your ability to speak English or French (or both!) can significantly improve your CRS score.

Take lessons, retake language tests, enroll in prep classes - the higher your language score, the higher your overall score and the likelihood of selection from the Express Entry pool.

Educate yourself

  • International students completing recognized degrees and diplomas in Canada are awarded extra points under Express Entry.

  • Advance your education while in the pool. Qualifications achieved outside Canada must first be verified through an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

  • Assess all your post-secondary qualifications. A qualification might better suit the skills being looked for in a particular province. A candidate is always better off proving a broader level of education.

Provincial Nominee Program can be the key to success

Each of Canada's ten provinces has its own provincial nominee program aimed at attracting people to settle there based on their specific labour market needs. Obtaining a provincial nomination can provide you with 600 extra points in the Express Entry pool.

Work experience anywhere is an asset

Canadian experience is the greatest asset for a points boost. Candidates get additional points for up to five years of working in Canada. Non-Canadian experience is not as valuable, but it still counts.

For a detailed chart on the CRS and how points are assessed, go to

Immigration Station Canada will work with you and guide you through the best process to achieve your goals, wherever they lead!


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Immigration Station Canada is a dedicated, professional Canadian Immigration firm practicing out of Northumberland County, just east of Toronto, Canada. We serve clients from Kingston, Belleville, Brighton, Cobourg, Oshawa, the GTA, Guelph, Milton, Stratford, and St. Catharines and around the world. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, Anne C. McCaughey (Annie) is an experienced immigration services provider and a fifth-generation Canadian who values the immigration process and the unique individuals who immigrate to Canada to become part of the fabric of this wonderful country. If you would like to submit a question to Ask Annie, use the contact form.

How Can We Help? We do work permits, study permits, visitor visas, Express Entry, spousal sponsorship, family class sponsorship, and Canadian citizenship with expertise in Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications and Global Talent Stream applications. Please contact us if you would like assistance with your immigration application or to book an appointment.

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