How to Improve Your CRS Score and Get to the Top of the Express Entry Pool: 6 Simple Steps

In this post we share tips to improve your CRS score and boost your chances to achieve ITA for permanent residence in Canada!

17 Aug 2021, 1:06 pm


min read

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The Express Entry program has resulted in a large influx of immigrants over the years. Immigration through the Express Entry system includes the step when candidates are ranked based on the CRS points system. And those who hank high enough are invited to immigrate to the Great White North.

Why It Is Important to Improve Your CRS Score?

Launched in January 2015, the Express Entry system was designed to provide a pathway to permanent residency for skilled workers living in Canada or overseas as well as to manage applications in three main economic immigration programs:

No matter which program you choose, the application will be processed under the Express Entry system. That means that you can hardly avoid being assessed based on the CRS score.

And here we go: to immigrate successfully you need to score as high as you can.

Want to learn more about how the immigration through the Express Entry works?

The process of submitting an application through the Express Entry system is a simple one:

  1. The interested candidate will simply need to create a profile online and submit it.
  2. They will then be entered into the pool.
  3. All of the candidates in that pool are ranked based on the CRS points system.
  4. Those who rank high enough will be invited to immigrate.

We give more details about how the Express Entry works here.

What do you need to know about the CRS points system?

Here are some main facts about the CRS system:

  1. The CRS system is based on several factors such as the applicant’s age, level of education, language proficiency, work experience, and any potential or confirmed job offers from an employer in Canada.
  2. In order to be selected in a draw, the candidate will need to meet the minimum CRS score.
  3. Minimum score required for immigration changes from draw to draw.
  4. One can improve the CRS score by learning more about the CRS system and following certain steps we cover in this post.
  5. Before getting the CRS score you need to enter the Express Entry pool. And to enter the pool, you need to be eligible for it. You may check your eligibility with our specially designed calculator by clicking on the banner below.

Fortunately, since most of these factors are variable, there are many ways to improve a CRS score if you feel that your score is too low or not good enough. Keep reading this post to learn how to get to the top of the Express Entry pool!

We also give more details about the Comprehensive Ranking System here.

Understanding the CRS: Why Is It Possible to Improve It?

Unless you have an exceptionally high CRS score (the maximum score achievable is 1200) you should always be trying to actively improve upon it, in order to maximize your chances of being selected during a draw.

It is quite possible you have done everything in your power to get the highest score possible, however, if this is not the case, you need to be proactive. Don’t simply submit your profile in the pool and wait to be selected in a draw. The requirements for a draw change and vary constantly and the CRS score itself is not ‘locked in’.

If your skills improve, your score will as well. The changes may seem minor but they can nonetheless impact your overall score and make all the difference in your eligibility for a future draw.

Other changes and improvements, for example, if you get a job offer from a specific province and get a provincial nomination, can result in you being awarded as much as 600 additional points to your CRS score!

So you should make a habit of periodically going through your profile and seeing what improvements can be made. 

How to Improve Your CRS Score: 6 Simple Steps

Finally, let’s look at the steps you may take to improve the CRS score!

Note: the order is not chronological – we’ll just number different actions that could improve your score.

Step 1: Get Help from an RCIC (optional)

consult with RCIC

RCICs are experienced and knowledgeable and will know the best way to optimize your skills, qualifications, and experiences and outline the best immigration plan for you so you can get the maximum CRS score possible in your case.

If you’re thinking about embarking on immigration, you obviously want it to be done efficiently and as quickly as possible so you can begin your life in Canada. The best way of navigating all this is to get professional help from an RCIC consultant.

There are many RCICs out there, so we have done our own research. You may check out  our top Recommended Canadian Immigration Consultants list . It was built based on extensive research, customer testimonials, and other vetting methods.

Step 2: Focus on Languages

Learning the second official language and applying to approved language tests is a great way to get the maximum language points possible and is one of the areas where incremental gains can make a huge difference.

One of the best things about the language testing requirement for immigration is that you can retake them to improve your score.

If you don’t score well on your first try, you can take some language classes and retest again in order to improve your CRS score.

Even basic language skills can help you claim some additional points and increase your chances of being selected!

If language is not your forte, consider hiring an English teacher or a French teacher to coach you and help you prepare for your tests.

Up to 162 points

IELTS, CELPIP, TEF, and TCF are all accepted tests for the immigration process, and add up to 162 points to your overall CRS score.

Up to 74 points

If you are a bilingual candidate, and can prove your fluency in Canada’s second official language (either French or English) you are awarded an additional 74 points.

Up to 25 to 50 points

Approximately  25 to 50 points are added as a bonus for French speakers who are also fluent in English. Up to 50 points can be added in in skill transferability factors.

Up to 260 or 270 points

In total, your language skills are worth up to 260 CRS points, if you are married or in a couple, they are worth up to 270 points.

Step 3: Focus on Your Family

This step is about thinking whether you have anyone already leaving in Canada. Don’t forget to mention them since it may improve the CRS score. Also, if you immigrate together with your spouse, you may get additional points for his/her qualifications.

Have a sibling in Canada? Get 15 points!

Did you know that having a blood relative, an adopted sibling, a spouse, or a common-law partner in Canada who is a permanent resident or citizen can give you up to 15 additional points?

In order to receive the points, they must present proof of citizenship or permanent residency by submitting a copy of their PR card or passport. They will also need to demonstrate proof of their relationship with the applicant.

Immigrating with your partner? Get up to 40 points!

When a couple (spouse or common-law) applies together, the CRS points awarded are higher. For instance, the spouse/partner:

  1. Language ability is worth 20 points;
  2. Level of education and Canadian work experience is worth a full ten points each.

Just these three factors give you an additional 40 points on your CRS score.

So if you are married or in a common-law relationship, make sure to get all those additional points.

Step 4: Focus on Education

Gather all you educational achievements and consider new ones! You may complete another educational program and get points for that.

It is easy to discount past work experience or courses that you may have taken. It is important to remember and include any and all of your education, because all the little things can go a long way. Even a diploma irrelevant to your current field of work counts and is one of the easiest ways to improve your CRS score.

Then you may think about completing another course!

It may seem like a long shot to invest more years in your studies, but it tops the list of how to increase CRS score.

Why a new educational program could be worth the time?

Well, it may give you additional 50-100 pointes. And it’s a lot.

Education plays an important role in the skill transferability factors, where you can gain a maximum of 100 CRS points. A certain skill level gained through higher education can also increase your chances of being eligible for a Provincial Nominee Program.

Talking about education, an I get it in Canada?

Totally! And it may open more immigration paths for you.

Your educational credentials and level of study can also make you eligible for another one of Canada’s immigration program, the Student Permit. By applying for a study permit, you have the opportunity of getting an education and work experience in Canada and eventually becoming eligible for permanent residency through various other pathways.

Step 5: Focus on Work Experience

Bring together all you work experience, skills and consider gaining some more! You may improve your CRS score by getting more experience in your country or in Canada.

One of the most straightforward and simple ways of increasing your CRS score is to continue working in your field of interest, as more work experience means more CRS points which translates to a stronger resume to attract Canadian employers.

Note though that Canadian work experience will bring you more points than experience in your home country.

Both full time and part-time work experience count, as it goes in the skills transferability factors.

Here we tell more about how to get a job in Canada.

Add 100 points

Completing at least two or three years of extra skilled work experience outside of Canada can get you an additional 100 points. This can be in combination with other skills transferability factors such as Canadian work experience and/or language ability.

Add up to 180 points

On the other hand, direct Canadian work experience leads to an increase in your score with every passing year, and can easily add up to 180 points.

Add 50 points

If you have a job offer from a Canadian employer, you can get an additional 50 points on your CRS score. It may seem like a daunting task but there are many ways to increase your chances of being selected by a Canadian employer.

Step 6: Consider the PNP Path

You may be selected for a PNP program and get 600 points for it. It almost guarantees a successful immigration.

Each province has its own demands and requirements for interested applicants. The eligibility criterion mostly depends on the province’s main industries and their need to fill in the labor gaps and shortages in specific sectors.

You may learn more about PNPs here.

Add 600 points

Canada has 10 provinces and 3 territories, all of which have their own provincial nominee program (PNP). Being selected for a PNP program is a sure-fire way of getting into Canada as a successful immigrant, as it gives applicants an additional 600 points on their CRS points, which is an enormous boost. A provincial nomination is also a near guarantee that you will be welcomed into the province or territory of your choice and liking.

Think Outside The Box

The immigration process is not always black and white and sometimes you have to be strategic in how you approach the process.

For example, let’s say we have a 35-year-old male from India named Rahul who works in a bank and he is married to 29-year-old Sanjana who is a doctor. They do not have children and they are interested in immigrating to Canada. Rahul makes a lot of money in his line of work while Sanjana is just starting out in her career having completed her internship. They are both fluent in English and have little to no knowledge of French.

They are trying to decide who should be the principal applicant. At first glance we may assume it’s Rahul because he makes more money, however, it would be Sanjana because she will get full points for her age and a better score because of her career choice.

So it would be better in their situation for Sanjana to be the primary applicant with Rahul as the spouse.

If Sanjana gets approved, Rahul will also automatically be approved and he will be able to come into Canada under a working visa. He can then work towards increasing his points as well and in the end both Sanjana and Rahul will get their PR.

In the example above, the way they applied was a strategic move and this is one of the great things about the CRS score, there are so many factors and so many ways to improve the score, there are dozens of combinations that can be tried to get the optimal result.


As you can see there are many ways of bringing up your score so an initial low CRS score should not bring you down or make you give up hope of ever immigrating to Canada.

The most important thing you can do is review all the factors that make up your score and look at what areas can be improved upon and what you can do to increase the score.

In short, a low CRS score should not be a deterrent and should instead be seen as a way to self-improve so you can be your best and most successful self in Canada.

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The child of immigrant parents, I came to Canada when I was just five years old. I used to volunteer at an immigration resource centre and now work for the Canadian Federal Government. Writing is my passion and I hope my words can provide some help to a new immigrant or someone considering a move to Canada.

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Editor’s Note

You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent immigration advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

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