Posted on - Aug 21, 2018

By Catherine Sas Q.C.

Catherine Sas Q.C.

In meeting with prospective Canadian immigrants, we are often asked what will help them succeed in the Express Entry selection system. While there is no one specific factor for consideration, there is a combination of skills and experience that will enhance your ability to qualify for Canadian permanent residence and earn that vital Invitation to Apply (ITA). Let’s see how you can enhance your chances for selection under Express Entry.


Canada’s economic immigration program is based upon selecting applicants that have skills to support and enhance the Canadian economy. So, it comes as no surprise that there is considerable emphasis on education.

In the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points are awarded for your level of education as well as the number of certificates, diplomas or degrees that you have earned. While a Master or Doctorate degree earns the most points, it is possible to maximize your CRS score with two or more educational qualifications so long as one of them is at least of three years or more duration.

Earning your first degree in your home country and then taking a further diploma program in Canada will allow you to gain CRS points for two educational qualifications as well as to earn points for studying in Canada.

For prospective international students, it is worth comparing your likely CRS points based upon a Canadian educational credential only contrasted with your CRS score for a combination of foreign and Canadian education.

Language Proficiency

If you have read our blogs before then you know that language proficiency is the single most important factor for earning CRS points under Express Entry.

Points are awarded for your language ability on their own and then again in conjunction with your education and foreign and Canadian work experience. There are four separate opportunities to score CRS points based upon your language proficiency – and that’s just for proficiency in one of Canada’s two official languages. To maximize CRS points for your language ability, you will need to provide an accepted language test that confirms your proficiency in English or French at a level of CLB 9 or higher in each of the four abilities: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Work Experience

CRS points are awarded for both foreign work experience and Canadian work experience. To earn optimal points for work experience an applicant should be able to demonstrate three years of foreign work experience and then two years of Canadian work experience. It is important to remember that to confirm your work experience you need a letter from your previous employer confirming the duration of your employment as well as the number of hours that you worked and specifying your actual day to day duties as is set out in Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) system for your particular occupation (Refer to Victor’s former blog- Getting the Reference Letter Right!

Based on my experience as a Vancouver immigration lawyer, and given the wide variety of factors that are assessed in determining an applicant’s CRS score, there is no one single feature that will ensure that you are selected to apply for permanent residence to Canada. By obtaining as many skills as possible, you clearly are at an advantage for obtaining an ITA under Express Entry.

The ideal applicant will have both foreign and Canadian education, foreign and Canadian work experience and be highly proficient in either or both English and French.

Catherine Sas, Q.C. is a Vancouver immigration lawyer at Sas & Ing Immigration Law Centre in Vancouver, BC Canada. Catherine has been practicing law for over 25 years, and has been voted Vancouver’s Best Immigration Lawyer by the Georgia Straight newspaper for 6 consecutive years.

To learn more about immigrating to Canada, becoming a permanent Canadian resident or bringing your family to Canada, email Catherine Sas or call her at 1-604-689-5444.

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