How to increase CRS score? This is an everlasting question that has been asked by all who have had a chance to join the Express Entry program. CRS score is a comprehensive ranking system, which means that all people get the same number of points for the same achievements – be they in the field of education, age, having a spouse or not, as well as having previous Canadian work experience.

But still, many are dissatisfied with their CRS score and are seeking ways to increase it. So, how can you do this, assuming that you are the primary applicant? Well, the first step is to use a CRS calculator to determine your current CRS score. Then, identify the areas that you could improve. While for some, this may mean working on their language skills, for others, it may mean getting more foreign work experience. Let’s dive right in and cover this question in more detail.

What Is CRS: The Score Breakdown

To ensure you actually get to the second step in the Express Entry application, you should do your best to increase points for each valuable factor you can think of. In fact, your age is the only factor that you cannot work on. However, your English ability, French ability, work experience, and education levels are all eligibility criteria that you can work on. As your test results and degree change, you can update this information in your profile, and hopefully score more the next time the federal government decides to make another draw – typically every two weeks.

You can also track the latest CRS score to ensure you understand the trend behind the CRS Cut-off – is it going up or down? The lowest CRS score ever was 75, but this does not mean that you will be able to pass on such a low score again, at least according to historical data. It is much better to compare how many points you got with the maximum possible number of points for each category. This way, you will know exactly what to work on. Here are the maximum CRS points that you can get for each of the three principal categories:

Applicant with a Spouse or a PartnerSingle Applicant
1. Core/human capital factors
Language Test Report170160
Canadian Work Experience8080
Total 1500500
2. Skill Transferability Factors
Combination of Education and Language proficiency OR Canadian work experience5050
Combination of Non-Canadian work experience and Language proficiency OR Canadian work experience5050
Combination of a Certificate of qualification and Language proficiency5050
Total 2100100
3. Additional Points
Provincial Nominee Status600600
Valid Job Offer200200
Post-Secondary Studies in Canada3030
French Language Ability5050
Having a Sibling in Canada (PR or Citizenship Required)1515
Total 3600600
TOTAL 1+2+312001200

How Does the CRS Work?

If you want to check CRS score for you as a single applicant (also known as the principal applicant), or together with your partner, you should not be discouraged if you do not score very high CRS score right away – most people do not. However, this is a good chance to actually work on it by spending the time between your application and the 1-year deadline (this is how long your application stays in the system) to work on improving your skills, mainly the human capital factors, and to work on getting a job offer or a PNP status.

As this may sound a bit confusing, let’s first have a look at what the CRS score is. CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System) is a ranking system for Express Entry applicants devised by the Canadian government. It grades your core or human capital factors, and skills transferability factors and can even give you some additional points for a job offer or a PNP status. The system is a great way to speed up the visa application process.

In fact, Express Entry is called that way because it is the fastest visa application system for Canada there is today. Most complete applications sent into the system take as little as six months to process, which is a short time compared to some other countries. In fact, to further speed up the process, the entire Express Entry system is divided into two steps: the first one is where you submit self-reported replies to questions about your age, education, work experience, and language ability, and this is where you get the CRS score. The second one is where you submit the documents and wait for your permanent residence.

How To Increase CRS Score?

When looking for ways on how to boost your CRS score, there are many, as pretty much any field from your primary application page can be worked on. The second general category, the Skills Transferability Factors, cannot be worked on, but they will increase as you work on your other skills, bringing you even more points for one and the same improvement. To boost your CRS score for Canadian immigration, you should: 

  • Retake the language tests
  • Gain more work experience – both Canadian and non-Canadian work experience work, for as long as this is a paid, full-time position, 
  • Get a PNP status
  • Complete a new qualification
  • Get a valid job offer
  • Finish a round of studies in Canada
  • Employ a recruiter to assist in your Canadian job hunt
  • Apply with your spouse or a common-law partner or a conjugal partner
  • Use the CRS calculator the right way
  • Keep up with the Express Entry news

Boost Your IELTS or TEF Language Exam Scores

Canada has two official languages/ Which one you should apply with as your principal or first language depends on your preferred province. However, different programs within the Express Entry program demand different levels of language skills, so let’s consider them in more detail. 

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Federal Skilled Worker (FST) ask for a CLB band score of 7 in all language skills. The Federal Skilled Trades (FST), on the other hand, ask for a CLB score of 5 in speaking and listening and a CLB of 4 in reading and writing. However, putting this into perspective is impossible without knowing the corresponding levels in the IELTS band score grading system. So, here is a comparison of CLB and IELTS systems:

CLB ScoreIELTS SpeakingIELTS ListeningIELTS WritingIELTS Reading

Considering that language test results bring about 170 points on the scale, it is important to secure the most points that you can. The difference between having a mean score of 5 and 7 can mean a lot less or a lot more points. However, some people may feel stuck or feel that their results do not reflect their true level of English mastery.

For this reason, it is always useful to know some tips and tricks when taking these tests. Working on your general attitude towards a test like this can help a lot. So can getting accustomed to the format of the test itself – finding online examples of IELTS tests can help a lot. Finally, a lot of revision will help you reach better results, and not studying the day before the test is also known to help.

Boost Your Work Experience

When it comes to your work experience, the more the merrier, especially when it comes to managerial positions. In fact, your work experience in Canada is valued at 80 points. Although it is difficult to find numbers for work experience outside of Canada, it is still cherished, especially if you have more than 6 years of it. This being said it is important to note that you can always work on this – while Canadian work experience allows you to join the CEC program, any kind of work experience is good for the FST and FSW programs.

Obtain a Provincial Nomination (PN)

When looking for a permanent residency, you should never forget about the PNP programs in Canada. PNP or Provincial Nominee Programs allow you to access Canadian soil even with a lower CRS score, so this may be a good chance for you to get your permanent residency. When you apply for the Express Entry program, all PNP programs that draw their candidates from the pool of candidates will easily have access to your profile and may send you an ITA whenever they find it fit. 

For this reason, it is always important to keep your profile updated. Did you get educational qualifications? Have your spousal factors changed or did you get additional work experience? Make sure that all of these changes are entered into the system, and do not worry about overdoing it – the more CRS you have, the better. 

Complete a New Qualification

Depending on the educational program, institution, and the length of the program itself, you will be awarded a certain number of points, with 150 points available in this field. It is important to note that education relevant to the job you would like to do is the most important one. In fact, this is a very important point to make, as adding more education while in the application process can be seen as a step forward by the Canadian immigration program authorities. However, finishing a 4-year Bachelor’s program in the field, you do not like to simply be able to move to Canada is simply not worth it.

Obtain an Employment Offer in Canada

Whenever looking for employment in Canada, be realistic about what you can achieve. Your degree or even previous work experience may not be enough for all employers, so you need to keep working on your skills, be willing to prove yourself and be ready to take even a lower position than you have now. Of course, this does not always have to be the case.

In fact, many employers on Canada JobBank and on LinkedIn can accept your degree and other educational credentials as they are – especially in novel technologies, IT, and similar fields. Medicine, education, and some other related fields may even ask that you finish a cycle of studies and pass all the differential exams to be able to join the labour market with Canada-approved secondary or post-secondary education. The Canadian immigration consultancy may be able to help a bit here, especially by pointing you in the right direction. 

Study in Canada

When looking at your academic profile and work experience, there is one thing that can help you raise more CRS points in both fields, and that is being able to study in Canada. If moving to Canada is your long-term goal, you may want to consider this first: studying in Canada will allow you to get more education, more CRS points in the Human Capital Points, and more CRS in the Skills Transferability Points. This way, you will also be able to score higher among the immigration targets and be more competitive among other candidates for immigration. 

Check Out How to Choose a University In Canada | Study in Canada International Students | Canadian Universities

Employ a Recruiter to Assist You in Finding Work in Canada

When looking for a job in Canada, before even having landed here, there is a single factor that can help you the most: a good recruiter or a recruiting agency. They can help you find work and reach a legal work status. They should know that the job position should always be paid, full-time, and non-seasonal and that the employer should be willing to ask for an LMIA. Only after you get the LMIA assessment can you apply for the Express Entry with a job offer. 

Do You Have a Canadian Brother or Sister?

If you have Canadian siblings, you will be eligible to receive additional points when making your application. You will be able to receive up to 15 additional points, but only if your sibling is 18 years of age and they have either Canadian permanent residence or citizenship. You can have a sibling through a bloodline, adoption, or even a marriage – in the last option, it is important that you share at least one parent. 

Make an Application With Your Spouse

Making an application with your spouse can also help you score more CRS when planning to move to Canada. You should check with your immigration consultant whether your marriage would be accepted or not, but you should also understand that Canada recognizes common-law partners, same-sex marriages, and conjugal partners, but it does not recognize marriages that have been conceived over the phone or similar medium where both parties were not physically present at the venue. Its immigration process also does not recognize polygamous marriages and partnerships shorter than a year. 

Make Use of a CRS Calculator

The CRS calculator is a useful tool, but only if you know how to use it. In fact, this is a very easy-to-use tool, where you first enter all your credentials as they are and see what CRS points you actually got. Once this is done, you should go and consider what reasonable changes you can make in your personal or professional life that could increase your CRS score. Write them down, and list them by how many CRS points you can receive on them. Then, go head-first for the option that can increase your CRS the most and work your way down. 

Keep Up With the Latest Express Entry Immigration News

Keeping up with the latest developments and news in the field can also help your application a lot. In fact, you may notice some new trends or recognized deficient work positions that are now accepted but have not been listed before. If you have work experience in these fields, update your profile and see what happens. Staying informed is always a good thing, especially as this can signal that you have had a good chance to meet with short-term offers. 

Short-term Strategies To Improve Your CRS Score

Any CRS score can be improved regardless of how low or high it may be. What you will need is to enter all your details truthfully into your CRS calculator and see how many points in total you have. In general, if you have more than 500 points, you may still get an ITA (Invitation to Apply), but the chances are not very high. To up the chances, you may want to compare your CRS score to the CRS breakdown. 

A CRS breakdown is a summary of how many points you can get for each reply you put into the CRS calculator. Seeking for the biggest discrepancies between the points you get and the maximum possible number of points is the best way to know what to focus on when attempting to up your CRS Score. Usually, the fields of language and work experience, as well as Canadian work experience, for all who would like to make their application a part of their long-term plan. 

Retake the Test

So, one of the easiest ways to do that, and a way that can be realized within a few weeks, is by improving your language test results. As many people show up for their IELTS or CELPIP test stressed out and without a good night’s worth of sleep, their test results may suffer. In fact, you can receive a whole band score higher than normal just by taking care of the pre-exam stress and getting enough rest. 

When preparing to retake the test, you should not only focus on these two things but rather on each skill separately. All language tests will test and score the four basic language skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. You can look at the previous scores you have received to identify the most critical skill. This means that you should be able to practice this skill the longest to secure you get the most points here. In addition to sole practice, seek advice on YouTube and similar platforms on how to ace your tests. 

How Are the Minimum Points for Canada Express Entry Calculated?

When it comes to the minimum points for Canada Express Entry, they are never known before the draw cycle takes place. In general, they resolve around 460-560, but some draws saw the CRS go as low as 75, and some saw it go as high as 900+. With this in mind, nobody can know what the minimum CRS cut-off will be at any given moment, but you should always do your best to increase your score and secure as many additional points as you can. This, in fact, is a proven way to get an ITA. 

calculate score for canada pr

Express Entry Alternatives

Of course, if you’ve applied for the Express Entry already and are not seeing the results you have hoped for, you may want to explore other options. Luckily, Canada offers many immigration roadmaps and many economic immigration streams for all who would like to move there. Immigration resources commonly cite the following as alternatives to Express Entry: 

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

The Provincial Nominee Programs are a group of programs that can help you immigrate to Canada. They are organized by provinces themselves, and considering that there are many of them, you may want to contact some immigration firms to see how they can help you apply for the best program there is. Alberta PNP is considered to be the most welcoming one, but considering your educational and work experience profile, it may not be the best solution for you. When it comes to some other perks of these programs, low CRS scores, frequent updates and draw cycles, and the ability to apply for more programs than one are all perks that these programs have to offer. 

Canadian Business Immigration Program

express entry comprehensive ranking system
Filling out an immigration form

When it comes to the Canadian business immigration program, this is one of the economic immigration streams that you may want to pay attention to, especially if you are a high-net-worth individual. A program like this helps you consider your personalized immigration by using your existing or future business to help you move to Canada. If you have a business that you would like to move to Canada, you can do that and use the business to get your PR – Permanent Residence. In addition to this, these programs also allow you to move to Canada to open up another branch of an existing business. 

Self-employment Program

If you are an artist, a sportsman, or a creator of one kind or another, there are immigration options for you as well. The self-employed immigration roadmaps are meant for all who would like to move to Canada but have no valid job offer or would like to keep being self-employed there as they have been so far. When it comes to the CRS score calculator, there is none, as you will have to make a separate application and hope for the best. 

Provincial Entrepreneur Visa Programs

Provincial Entrepreneur Visa programs are programs for individuals with high net worth who are interested in moving to Canada to create new job positions. These programs are available to all who have a net worth of at least CAD500,000 and who would like to invest this money in Canada one way or another. When it comes to immigration resources, you will most appreciate immigration experts, as these pathways can get a bit complex. These points also do not have the lowest cutoff score or minimum scores to join, but there are eligibility requirements that you should pay attention to be able to join one of these programs. 

Atlantic Immigration Program

The Atlantic Immigration program is aimed at those who currently study or have studied in Canada. The program allows you to settle in an Atlantic Canadian province, and they only accept a small number of people every year. For this reason, it is important to consider applying early and looking for ways to make your application shine. 

Start-up Visa Program

The Start-up Visa program, as the name suggests, is for all those with skilled work experience that would allow them to open up a business in Canada. These programs, in fact, are meant also for those who have sufficient funds to do so and a business idea good enough for the Canadian market. When it comes to the application, it is not available through the express entry, so you will have to make a separate application. 


Does PNP Guarantee PR?

Nothing can guarantee a PR (Permanent Residence), although a PNP can significantly boost your chances of passing. PNP can make such a huge difference primarily because it awards up to an additional 600 CRS points to your immigration application. When it comes to Canadian society, the best thing to work on are job offers and language test scores, as these can bring about the biggest difference in any immigration program.

What Was the Last CRS Score for Express Entry?

The last Express Entry draw, number 267, on September 8th, 2023, saw 600 applications issued. The CRS score was 354, meaning that all people who had 354 CRS points or more got their ITA. This is a surprisingly low CRS score, but this was the first draw in the agriculture and agri-food occupations. 

What Is the Easiest Province to Immigrate in Canada?

Depending on the score you got, Alberta PNP and Alberta INP could be your best chance to get into Canada. When looking for ways to immigrate to Canadian soil, you should know that these two programs accept applicants with as little as 300 points. If you still do not pass but are young, you could apply for a study permit and up your level of education. Additionally, you could work on all the additional factors and skill transferability factors to improve your CRS score.

What Is a Decent CRS Score?

460+ could be a good CRS score today. Provincial nomination, improved language tests, and working on your post-secondary education could help you improve your CRS score to a more acceptable level in as little as a few months’ time. You can do this even after you’ve applied to become a permanent resident. All in all, a score of 40 does not guarantee arrival to Canada, but it could if you apply for the CEC Express Entry stream.

Final Thoughts

When making an application through Express Entry, it is important to note that your initial CRS score does not have to stay fixed, especially if you think that you may be able to secure more CRS points. In fact, there are numerous ways to do so and to increase your chances of getting an ITA. With this in mind, you should go through our guide on how to increase your CRS score and see what you can do today to boost your chances of touching Canadian soil in a few months’ time.