How to Boost Your CRS Score in 2021

This year 401,000 immigrants will become permanent residents of Canada. Applications will be processed through over 100 different visa and immigration programs. The Express Entry System will process at least 108,500 of those applications, to date they have already processed and awarded permanent residence to 38,657 immigrants.  

By now, you are probably aware that there is a lot of competition in the Express Entry pools, and only candidates with the highest Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores are issued Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residency. So let’s take a look at how you can boost your CRS score in 2021and secure your own ITA.

So far the invitations have been limited to Canada Experience Class (CEC) candidates and applicants with a provincial nomination. It is uncertain when the System will begin to issue invitations to the Federal Skilled Worker and Federal Trades Worker candidates, but with Canada’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign picking up more momentum every day, restrictions may be eased soon allowing services like customs to return to normal.

How To Maximize Your Express Entry Score

Young woman applying for express entry-boost your CRS score

When the Express Entry System does start processing FSWP and FSTP candidates again, there will be even more competition because of the backlog that has been accumulated over the past year. It is vital that you take every possible measure to ensure your CRS score is at its maximum to give you the best chance of being issued an ITA.

The Language Test Results

Probably the most underestimated point scorer in the entire CRS. The popularity of the google-searched phrase ”Is IELTS a requirement for Canadian Immigration” shows just how few people know how much a good Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) test can boost your CRS score. The first points awarded for your language test results are as follows: 

Minimum Language Requirement
Federal Skilled Worker ProgramCLB 7
Federal Skilled Trades ProgramCLB 5
CRS Points For Official Language Proficiency
With PartnerWithout Partner
Less than CLB 400
CLB 4 or 566
CLB 689
CLB 71617
CLB 82223
CLB 92931
CLB 10 or higher3234

It’s quite clear that the first thing you can do to boost your CRS is to ensure you score higher than an 8 on your CLB, as there is a significant point jump there. Now we will look at the skill transferability points, and here is where a high CLB score is very important. If you have a good qualification, it follows that the more proficient you are in English or French, the more effective you can be in the labour force. You will notice below that you can pick up more than twice the amount of additional points if you have a CLB score of 9 or higher.     

As you can see, with a CLB of nine or higher (in all four categories: reading, writing, listening, and speaking), you can score an additional 25 points on those who don’t know about this little skill transferability section and care only about meeting the minimum requirement of seven. When your ITA is issued, your language test results cannot be older than two years. Make sure that they are valid for the entire time you are in the Express Entry pool.  

Canadian Language Benchmark test-boost your CRS score

Canadian Work Experience

These points obviously take a little more time to pick up, think of it as playing the long game. The benefit of choosing to acquire work experience in Canada before applying for permanent residency through the Express Entry system is that one, you will get a taste of what life is like in Canada, and while we are sure you’ll be very happy, it’s not as permanent. Two, you will be eligible for the Canada Experience Class, the pool whose candidates receive preference over the FSWP and FSTP simply because they’ve shown they can function in Canadian society.  

Basic points for Canadian work experience are as follows:

CRS Points For Canadian Work Experience
Years of experienceWith a partnerWithout a partner
None or less than one year00
one year3540
two years4653
three years5664
four years6372
five years or more7080

As you can see, just one year will give your CRS score a significant boost. Remember, once you have a job offer, you will be required to obtain a Canadian work permit before you may legally begin working in Canada. A permanent job offer in Canada is also worth an additional 50-200 points on your CRS score. You can also score additional points based on your level of education combined with your years of experience working in Canada as follows: 

CRS Points For Skill Transferability
Level of QualificationWith one year of work experienceWith one year or more work experience
Secondary school (high school) credential or less00
Post-secondary program credential of one year or longer1325
Two or more post-secondary program credentials AND at least one of these credentials was issued on completion of a post-secondary program of three years or longer2550
A university-level credential at the master’s level or at the level of an entry-to-practice professional degree for an occupation listed in the National Occupational Classification matrix at Skill Level A for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required2550
A university-level credential at the doctoral level2550

Additional Factors to Boost your CRS Score

These factors will add points to your CRS score, never underestimate any additional points you may be able to legitimately claim, often one or two points can mean the difference between receiving your ITA and nothing. 

Additional Points
Brother or sister living in Canada who is a citizen or permanent resident of Canada15 points
Scored NCLC 7 or higher on all four French language skills and scored CLB 4 or lower in English (or didn’t take an English test)25 points
Scored NCLC 7 or higher on all four French language skills and scored CLB 5 or higher on all four English skills50 points
Post-secondary education in Canada - credential of one or two years15 points
Post-secondary education in Canada - credential three years or longer30 points
Arranged employment - NOC 00200 points
Arranged employment - NOC 0, A, or B50 points
Provincial or territorial nomination600 points

Our final recommendation is to secure a provincial nomination, this can be done through your Express Entry profile simply by creating an expression of interest in the province you wish to settle and work in. The tricky part is knowing which skills are in demand by which provinces, after all, it won't serve to apply to British Columbia as an engineer when they’re after IT professionals, and it’s actually Ontario who are looking for engineers. 

Young new immigrant welcomed to Canada

Is Your Express Entry Profile Ready?

While it may seem like a race with Express Entry, the truth is that it is important to know what your chances are before even entering one of the pools. Going in you should have the best possible chance of receiving an ITA so that it’s only minor adjustments that can be made when your profile is active and waiting to be selected. This makes knowing how to boost your CRS score in 2021 very important. Your CLB score is paramount to your success with this system, so if you don’t get the score you need the first time you take the IELTS or one of the other approved CLBs, brush up and go again. There are a number of ways to secure your ITA, it’s just about making sure your strengths are properly counted.