Year after year, people from all over the world take steps 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 favored options. While things may move along more rapidly 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 thing you need to remember 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 is 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.
Every draw has a CRS cut-off, 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 factors such as age, education, languages, employment experience and skills. You'll be able to earn additional points if you have a job offer, speak a second language in Canada, or have a brother or sister in the country.
To find out what your CRS score currently is, here's our CRS calculator which can help give you a clear idea of your starting point.
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.
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.
Ensuring 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 up to 24 extra points on your solo application.
Add Another Qualification to Your List
Degrees take a while to complete, but adding another one may just be worthwhile. It’s guaranteed to increase your score, as you'll earn additional human capital points and skills transferability points.
Apply With Your Spouse
If you and your spouse or common-law partner want to move to Canada, you can 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 of you would be the principal applicant according to who has the most CRS points. Should you both be granted an ITA, you must jointly submit your ITA for permanent residence.
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 up to 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. An LMIA for the specific job will also be required to get the points required.
What is a Good CRS Score?
CRS scores vary from draw to draw, so while anything more than 470 CRS points would be deemed a good score, it depends 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 with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 507 points.
Remember: 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 improve your score. There are also many other visa options, from the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) to Canada's Start-up and Business Visas.
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. Bill C-19, released in June 2022, revealed that Express Entry draws will target 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 move towards an Expression of Interest (EOI) that will see draws that bring in immigrants that best aid in bridging the labor gaps where needed. You must 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.
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 nationwide. This program allows participating provinces and territories to put forward qualifying economic immigration candidates for permanent residence in the country.
The Canadian government permitted local provinces to undertake a nomination process allowing immigrants wanting to settle in Canada to immigrate to the country.
Candidates are required to select their preferred province, keeping eligibility in mind, 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 of the country's Atlantic provinces. AIP assists companies in hiring suitably qualified workers in areas with 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 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 several options for this, to attract business professionals, 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 earned 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
Suppose you're an entrepreneur with a minimum net worth of about CAD$500,000 and are keen on business investment or acquisition. In that case, you can apply for permanent residency via the Provincial Entrepreneur Visa Program. By doing this, you will contribute to the country's economy through job creation.
Start Your Journey to Canada on the Best Foot Possible
Taking a leap toward a new life in a new country is a big deal. It involves time and money, so you must do whatever you can to give yourself the best chance at success - whether making sure your CRS score is good or upskilling 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 how to improve your CRS score from the start will make things easier and 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 ensure 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 continually improve your score. For the best chance of securing an ITA, apply for a Provincial Nomination worth 600 extra points.
What is the Quickest Way to Increase Your CRS Score?
There are several options. You can improve your language scores, secure a job in Canada (up to 200 points) or apply for a Provincial Nomination (600 points). You may also want to consider getting more work experience in the country or extending the length of your current course.