Year after year, people from all over the world take the step to apply for Canadian citizenship. With many looking for the quickest road to immigration success, Canada's Express Entry system has become one of the most favoured options. But, while things may move along at a more rapid pace during the application process, there's more to it than just filling out the paperwork and hoping to be invited to apply to become a permanent resident.
If you’re planning on going the Express Entry route, one of the things you need to keep in mind from the beginning is how to increase your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.
With thousands of submissions for the draw, which takes place every two weeks, only a fraction of pool entries are successful. Draws take place according to various immigration categories, namely the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) Program.
There is a CRS cut-off for every draw, eliminating those with scores below a particular number. This makes knowing how to increase your CRS score an essential part of your application process, as it may ensure your eligibility for an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for permanent residency.
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Explained
Used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the CRS is a system based on points that calculate how you will fare in the Express Entry draw pool. As a candidate, your profile is scrutinized according to your skill set, qualifications, and work experience, to name but a few factors. You will be graded in each category and eventually receive a CRS score. There is the opportunity to score up to 1,200 CRS points during the process, split into Core or Human Capital Points and Additional points. You earn points for a number of factors, such as age, education, languages, employment experience and your skills. You'll be able to earn additional points if you have a job offer, speak a second language spoken in Canada, or if you have a brother or sister in the country.
NOTE: Express Entry pools are quite a competitive space. If you rank high, your chances of being invited to apply to become a permanent resident are better.
Latest IRCC Update on Express Entry and CRS Scores
Canada’s Immigration minister, Sean Fraser, recently announced some changes to Canada's Express Entry System that will come into play as early as the first quarter of 2023. According to Bill C-19, which was released in June 2022, revealed that Express Entry draws will be targeting applicants according to how much value their skills will add to the Canadian economy. The transition will see the focus shift away from only CRS scores and instead see draws that bring in immigrants that best aid bridging the labour gaps where needed. You will have to meet the eligibility criteria for an Express Entry program but your CRS Score will no longer be the main deciding factor in receiving an ITA. Draws may be centered around candidates with specific work experience, education, or language proficiency.
Ways to Increase Your CRS Score
Not sure how to increase your CRS score? The good news is that there are several steps you can follow to increase your chances of success:
- Make sure you follow the latest Express Entry Immigration News
- Up your language game
- Add another qualification to your list
- Apply with your spouse
- Secure a job in Canada
Make Sure You Follow the Latest Express Entry Immigration News
You'll be amazed at what you'll pick up by just keeping abreast of what's happening in the world of immigration. You might pick up tips you weren't aware of before that might be the key to your immigration success. Many people might not be aware that having a sibling in Canada guarantees 15 points to add to your CRS Score.
Making sure you do well in your English test can significantly increase your CRS score. But don't stop there. If you haven't started learning French or can get by with a few phrases, focus on some classes – it's possible to score more than 20 extra points with a second language, should you apply with your spouse. You get about 24 extra points on your solo application.
Add Another Qualification to Your List
Degrees take a while to complete, but it may just be worth your while to add another one. It’s a guaranteed way to increase your score as you'll earn additional human capital points and earn more skills transferability points.
Apply With Your Spouse
If you and your spouse or common-law partner would like to move to Canada, you'll be able to apply for a visa together. This combined application may dramatically increase your CRS score. Between the two of you, you'll need to decide which one of you would be the principal applicant, according to who has the most CRS points. Should you both be granted an ITA, you would be required to submit your ITA for permanent residence jointly.
Secure a Job in Canada
Securing employment before starting the visa application process is another way to increase your CRS score. It would top up your score with about 200 points. But before you get into it, be aware that not all jobs are equal - it has to meet a set criterion. The position you secure would have to be permanent, with a contract signed for at least one year.
What is a Good CRS Score?
CRS scores vary from draw to draw, so while anything more than about 470 CRS points would be deemed a good score, it really does depend on the draw pool you find yourself in. For example, in the first draw of 2023, which took place on January 11, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued invitations to 5,500 candidates who had a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 507 points.
Keep in mind: A decent score may not always mean an invitation to apply for residency.
What is a Cut-off Score?
With every draw comes a CRS cut-off score. This is the CRS score of the individual that ranked the lowest as they received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.
What if I'm Not Invited to Apply?
If your first attempt is unsuccessful, all is not lost, should you not qualify for Express Entry. Your profile stays in the pool for 12 months, giving you time to work on getting your score up. There are also a number of other visa options to pursue, from the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) to Canada's Start-up and Business Visa.
Other Pathways to Canada
Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
Canada accepted a maximum of 80,000 immigrants through its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) in 2021, with more than 80 provincial nomination programs throughout the country. This program allows participating provinces and territories to put forward qualifying economic immigration candidates for permanent residence in the country.
The Canadian government granted local provinces permission to undertake a nomination process which will allow immigrants wanting to settle in Canada to immigrate to the country.
Candidates are required to select their preferred province and then apply for the nomination. Submissions are then chosen according to the needs of each province.
Atlantic Immigration Program
Canada's Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) is an excellent point of access to obtaining your permanent residency if you're a skilled worker or have graduated from a Canadian university and wish to settle in any one of the country's Atlantic provinces. AIP assists companies in the hiring of suitably qualified workers in areas where there is a shortage of a particular skill in the province.
Canadian Business Immigration Program
If you have strong business acumen, the Canadian Business Immigration Program is for you. This particular program was created to build a wealth of brand new opportunities, giving suitably-skilled immigrants the scope to participate in the Canadian marketplace. The program has a number of options for this, in a bid to attract not only business professionals but also entrepreneurs and those venturing into the world of start-ups.
Start-up Visa Program
Due to the country's wealth when it comes to natural resources, highly-skilled workers and political stability, there are lots of benefits when it comes to starting a business. With this, comes great access to investors. So if you're ready to take your business and idea, and give it a jumpstart in a thriving economy, this one's for you.
The Self-employment Program
If you're self-employed and wondering how you'll be able to immigrate to Canada, you'll be happy to learn about the Self-employment Program. If you're an athlete or creative, you'll have to prove that you've been able to earn a living doing this successfully in the country you currently live in. Those eligible for this option include journalists, designers, entertainers, athletes, coaches and other sports personnel. The National Occupation Classification of Canada has a complete list of all the career types that fall under these two categories, which, for the most part, there is no exception.
Provincial Entrepreneur Visa Programs
If you're an entrepreneur with a minimum net worth of about CAD$500,000 and are keen on business investment or acquisition, you'll be able to apply for permanent residency via the Provincial Entrepreneur Visa Programs. By doing this, you will be contributing to the country's economy through job creation.
Start Your Journey to Canada on the Best Footing Possible
Taking a leap toward a new life in a new country is a big deal. It involves time and money, so you will need to do whatever you can to give yourself the best shot at success - whether it’s making sure your CRS score is good or upskilling to be able to add the best value to the Canadian economy. While it may take some time to get to grips with all the immigration information, knowing exactly how to improve your CRS Score from the get-go will not only make things easier - it will also reduce your risk of not receiving your ITA for permanent residency. Because immigration is such a complicated process, our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) will always be standing by to guide you through each step of your journey to the Great White North.
Does the CRS Score Ever go Down?
The CRS score is different in every draw, so this is a very unpredictable area. It is therefore very important to make sure that your score is as high as possible, to avoid missing out on an ITA.
What if my Score is Too Low?
The good news is that you can always improve your score. For the best chance of securing an ITA, apply for a Provincial Nomination, which is worth 600 extra points.
What is the Quickest Way to Increase Your CRS Score?
There are a number of options. You can improve your language scores, secure a job in Canada or apply for a Provincial Nomination. You may also want to consider getting more work experience in the country or extending the length of your current course.