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How to Improve your Ranking

In 2015, Canada introduced the Express Entry system for organizing and processing applications for Canadian permanent residence. All programs within Express Entry are highly competitive programs. Candidates are ranked against one another and only the most competitive candidates are invited to apply for permanent residence.

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You can refer to the Express Entry draws page for a complete record of the minimum CRS cut-off score for each draw. If your CRS score is below the minimum cut-off scores of recent draws, you may want to take measures to increase the Express Entry points. Take advantage of the suggestions below for improving your CRS score!

Improving CRS - Fast Methods

When it comes to improving CRS scores, many people want to know the most efficient method of giving their score a boost. Most methods for increasing the CRS score can take significant time and effort, but there are a few ways to get more Express Entry points quickly. Find out more below.

Retake Language Tests

Unless a candidate already has advanced scores on the IELTS, CELPIPTEF, or TCF exam, improving the language test scores is often the best way to increase the CRS score. The principal applicant’s language proficiency affects the CRS in two important but distinct ways. In order to understand how retaking a language test improves a person’s ranking, first it is necessary to understand how language proficiency affects the CRS score.

  1. Category A – Core / Human Capital Factors: When calculating a CRS score, language proficiency first comes into consideration in Category A – Core / Human Capital Factors. Within this category, Express Entry candidates are awarded points for their score in each of the four categories on official language tests: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. A candidate can receive a maximum of 128 points for language proficiency if applying with a spouse, or 136 points if applying without a spouse.
  2. Category C – Skill Transferability Factors: This category awards a maximum of 100 additional points to Express Entry candidates. Skill Transferability points are awarded to candidates for having combinations of high-quality credentials. For example, advanced language proficiency plus several years of foreign work experience, or advanced language proficiency plus advance levels of education. Language proficiency plays a huge factor in the distribution of Skill Transferability points, often making the difference between a competitive and non-competitive CRS score.

Retaking a language test has the obvious effect of improving the CRS due to points awarded for language directly under Core/Human Capital Factors. However, if a candidate can improve their language scores to be consistent with the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 9, then they will be eligible for up to 100 additional combination points through Skill Transferability Factors. The exact amount depends on the person’s level of education and amount of work experience. For full details, consult Canadim’s breakdown of the Comprehensive Ranking System.

Express Entry candidates can take language proficiency tests as many times as they want. They are also able to replace old language results with new language results within an active Express Entry profile that has already been submitted to the pool. Please note that language test results must be less than 2 years old.

Spousal Factors

Express Entry candidates including their spouse or common-law partner on their Express Entry profile should be aware of how including a partner will affect their Express Entry points. If a person applies as a single applicant, without a partner, then all 1200 available CRS points are allocated for this person. However, if a person applies with an accompanying partner, then 40 points are reallocated to the spouse, with the remaining 1160 for the principal applicant. While 40 points may not seem like a significant amount, sometimes this can be the deciding factor in receiving an Invitation to Apply for Canadian immigration.

There are three possible ways that spousal factors may affect CRS score:

  1. Including a spouse or partner may result in more points. By submitting a language test, or an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) for any post-secondary education, a spouse or common-law partner could claim enough points to increase the principal applicant’s score.
  2. Not including a spouse or partner may result in more points. If a spouse or partner has low levels of education or language proficiency, or they are unwilling to complete a language test or obtain an ECA report, then the principal applicant’s CRS score could increase by choosing to have the spouse not accompany the principal applicant to Canada initially. Note: If a spouse or children do not accompany an applicant to Canada initially, the applicant may be eligible to sponsor them for permanent residence at a later date.
  3. A spouse or partner may make a stronger principal applicant. If a person’s spouse is more competitive, then the spouse may actually make the stronger principal applicant. If a candidate is successful, they receive permanent resident status for themselves and all accompanying family members, so a couple should evaluate who is the stronger applicant. Note: If both partners are strong candidates, each can submit a profile to the Express Entry pool and list one another as the accompanying spouse. While both partners in a couple may submit Express Entry profiles, it should be noted that only one member of a couple can submit the official application for permanent residence.

If language tests and/or spousal factors are insufficient to improve a person’s CRS score, there are some additional methods available, although they may take longer to achieve.

Tie-Breaking Rule

The tie-breaking rule was implemented in November, 2017, in order to better control the number of ITAs issued in each draw. If you meet, but do not exceed, the minimum CRS cut-off score for a given draw, you will only receive an ITA if you submitted your profile to the Express Entry pool before the date specified by the tie-breaking rule.

Improving CRS - Slower Methods

If an Express Entry candidate has performed as well as possible on language tests, claimed all points available for education and work experience, maximized spousal points, and still doesn’t have a competitive score, there are a few more challenging ways to improve the CRS score.

Job Offer

A valid job offer from a Canadian employer can get a candidate an additional 50 or 200 points, depending on the skill level of the job. Candidates can use Canadim’s job search tool to assist with finding an employer in Canada. The job offer must be valid. This means that it must be full time and non-seasonal, for at least one year and in a skilled job listed as skill level 0, A, or B under the National Occupational Classification (NOC). It must also be supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or be LMIA-exempt.

Note: Many cases of fraud have been reported regarding immigrants being asked to pay for a Canadian job offer. This is illegal in Canada and any job offers requesting payment from the applicant should be highly scrutinized.

Provincial Nomination

If an Express Entry candidate receives a nomination from a province, they receive an additional 600 points on their Express Entry points. The majority of Canada’s provinces and territories operate Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams aligned with the Express Entry system. Obtaining a provincial nomination from a PNP stream aligned with Express Entry is often the surest way to boost your CRS score, but usually represents a significant undertaking. Each PNP stream has its own eligibility requirements and application procedure, and processing fees.

Level of Education

Completing additional educational credentials can result in an increase in the CRS score. While going back to school is a big investment, it is sometimes the best option for achieve a competitive score.  

Did you know?

Completing a Canadian educational credential not only results in more CRS points, it may also increase your eligibility for other pathways to permanent residence! Canadim’s International Student Program can help you get started.

Work Experience

A candidate’s level of work experience impacts their CRS score. By gaining additional skilled work experience, a candidate may increase their CRS score. If a candidate gains Canadian work experience, they may also qualify for the Canadian Experience Class program. It should be noted that candidates gain different levels of CRS points depending on if the work experience was gained in Canada or outside of Canada.

Once a candidate reaches 3 years of full-time, skilled work experience completed outside Canada within the last 10 years they will receive the maximum number of CRS points available for foreign work experience. Once a candidate reaches 5 years of full-time, skilled work experience completed inside Canada within the last 10 years they will receive the maximum number of CRS points available for Canadian work experience.

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