The Key to Getting Express Entry to Canada in 2021

In 2020, over 100,000 immigrants became permanent residents of Canada through the Express Entry system

This can be done without requiring a Canadian job offer or even having to travel to Canada. This immigration system allows skilled and qualified foreigners to apply for permanent residency in Canada from their own country, while continuing to live their lives, going to work every day, paying taxes, and visiting family and friends. You can create your online profile and then simply wait for your invitation to apply.     

The key to getting Express Entry to Canada in 2021 is in the details. Candidates are issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) based on their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score against other applicants in their skill pool. It happens in every draw that candidates miss out on an ITA by a one or two-point margin. So let’s consider the scoring criteria, and how you can maximize your CRS score to stand the best chance of receiving an ITA.   

Make Sure You Meet The Minimum Requirements for Express Entry

Provinces of Canada-Apply for a provincial nomination

Choose a Province

Right from the start, it is helpful to have a province in mind that you would be interested in moving to. Life in Canada is a little different from province to province; economies, industries, and population density all affect the type of lifestyle you can expect to live.

Take a Language Test

Next, you should find a testing center near where you live to take a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) test. There is a minimum score required to be eligible for Express Entry, and you are also assigned points on your CRS depending on your CLB score. If English or French isn’t one of your first languages, we recommend brushing up or taking a practice course in preparation. If your spouse or partner will be moving to Canada with you, they should also take a CLB. 

  • People who work in managerial or professional occupations will need to score a minimum of 7 (out of 10) on their CLB;
  • People who work in a skilled trade need to score a minimum of 5 (out of 10) on their CLB.

Work Experience

Work experience is an important qualifying measure. You will require at least one year (1,560 hours) if you are in a managerial or professional occupation and 2 years of experience if you are a skilled trades worker. Canadian work experience is the most valuable. If you have at least one year of experience working in Canada, it places you in a separate pool with far less competition that also receives preference over the other two pools.  

Settlement Funds

You need a certain amount in savings, in order to help pay for your move and settlement costs in Canada. You will need to show this with proof of funds when issued your ITA, so have it ready. 


Has an Education Credential Assessment (ECA) done by a company authorized by the IRCC to do so? If you work in a professional or managerial role, you should at least have a three-year degree or diploma. There is no formal education requirement for skilled trades workers, but you must, however, have the equivalent of a Canadian high school diploma.   

How To Maximize Your CRS Score

Passports-The Key to Getting Express Entry in Canada

Now that you know what will be required, you can think about how to maximize your CRS score and ensure an ITA for permanent residency in Canada. You don’t need most of the items listed above when you create your profile, except your CLB test results, as these are used to calculate a part of your CRS score. 

Your Partner or Spouse

The first thing to be aware of is that you lose a small number of additional points in each category if you are applying with a common-law partner or spouse. However, they can also help earn points depending on their qualifications, experience, and CLB score. If you have been living with your partner for at least one year, which will require proof, you can apply together. 


Unfortunately, our age is our age, and while we can’t turn back time to a few years ago when we would have scored higher for being younger, we can apply right now, because every year you get older you lose 5 points out of 100 on this section. The ideal age is 20-29 (100 points), every year thereafter you lose 5 points. After 40, you lose 10 points a year so that by the time you reach 45 you will score zero in this category.   

The Key: Apply now! Don’t delay!

Level of Education

The higher your qualification, the better. If you have more than one formal qualification, even better. Here is how you score points based on your level of education.

Level of EducationWithout a PartnerWith a Partner
Did not graduate high school00
High school diploma2830
One-year degree, diploma, or certificate8490
Two-year degree, diploma, or certificate9198
Bachelors degree or three or more year degree, certificate or diploma112120
Two or more degrees, diplomas, or certificates. One must be at least a three-year program119128
Masters degree OR professional degree ie dentist126135
Doctoral level university degree - PhD140150

If you are a trades worker, a certificate of qualification is worth an additional 25 points, and if you score 10 or higher on your CLB test, it is worth 50 points.

The Key: Complete your qualifications. If you are considering taking additional courses, do it! 

Your CLB Results

We mentioned that it is important to brush up and perhaps even take a preparation course for your CLB. The test will be divided into four categories; listening, speaking, writing, and reading. The higher you score, the more points you are awarded. 

The lowest you can score to remain eligible is 6 points as a trades worker (CLB level 5), and 16 points as a professional or managerial worker (CLB level 7). If you can score a CLB of level 10 or higher, you can earn up to 34 points.

You can also score up to an additional 6 points on one of Canada’s second official languages, English or French.

The Key: Practice, practice, practice. This is a key factor where you can get an edge on your competition.

Canadian Work Experience

If you are considering working in Canada before applying for permanent residency through Express Entry, this is a very good idea. Canadian work experience contributes a lot of points towards your CRS. Just one year will score you an additional 35 points. With five years or more, you will score up to 70 points.

If you are ready to move to Canada and have a job offer, apply for your temporary work permit and get going. It will also give you an opportunity to feel out the Canadian lifestyle before becoming a permanent resident. 

Skill Transferability

Another reason to score highly on your CLB is that additional points will be awarded depending on your level of education. For example, if you score a 10 or higher on your CLB test and have a three-year degree or diploma, you will score an additional 50 points. Add a year of experience working in Canada and you score an additional 25 points.

The Key: Get the highest CLB score you possibly can. It affects your score dramatically. 

Work Experience

Your work experience outside of Canada is important too. The experience must be earned in your profession or trade. CLB results play a major factor here again. If you scored 9 or below on your CLB test, and have 1 to 2 years of experience, you will be awarded 13 points. If you score a 10 or higher, you will be awarded 25 points. 

The Key: Don’t sit around waiting for your ITA, get work experience!

Additional Points

Here is where you can also score vital points to give you an edge on the competition. For example, while a job offer may not be necessary, it will likely push you to the top of your pool for the next draw. Let’s consider how you can score extra points: 

A sibling who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident15 points
Scored 7 or higher on French CLB test25 points
Scored 7 or higher on French CLB test and 5 or higher on English CLB test50 points
Post-secondary education in Canada (1 to 2 years)15 points
Post-secondary education in Canada (3 years)30 points
Job offer in Canada50-200 points
Provincial Nomination600 points

The Key: Get a provincial nomination!

You will apply for a provincial nomination through Express Entry when creating your profile, simply by creating an expression of interest in the province you are interested in living in. It is important to create an expression of interest in a province that has a demand for your skills, as this will increase your chances of success.  

Applying for Permanent Residency in Canada

The Express Entry application process is fairly straightforward, as maximizing your CRS score is what makes all the difference. You will want to get your profile in as soon as possible. As long as you meet all the requirements for your program, the key to getting Express Entry to Canada in 2021 is to score high on your CLB test.