Posted on - Apr 24, 2018

By Catherine Sas Q.C.

Catherine Sas Q.C.

Canada’s Express Entry selection system can be a challenge for prospective immigrants who must score enough Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points in order to garner an Invitation to Apply (ITA). Now mid way through the fourth year of Express Entry, applicant scores earning an ITA have ranged from a high of 886 to a low of 413 but have recently settled in the mid 400’s over the past year. However, the bulk of prospective applicants in the pool, hover around the 400-point score range. How does a prospective Canadian immigrant increase their CRS score to be able to apply for permanent residence under Express Entry? Here are some tips to increase your CRS point score from the point of view of a Vancouver immigration lawyer.

Get more work experience

Additional years of work experience can increase your CRS points score whether foreign work experience or Canadian work experience. Be sure to have a detailed letter of reference from your employer setting out your day to day job duties in accordance with Canada’s National Occupation Classification (NOC) system NOC 2016. If you are not yet in Canada and are considering applying for permanent residence, aim to complete three full years of work experience in a NOC O, A or B level occupation before coming to Canada. Canadian work experience also increases your point score with maximum points being given for two years of full time work experience. The combination of 3 years of foreign work experience together with 2 years of Canadian work experience garners the maximum CRS points.

Improve your English or French language proficiency

The single most important factor under Express Entry is language proficiency. You need to obtain a CLB score of 7 or higher under each and every of the four proficiencies: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Familiarize yourself with the CLB ranking system for language which is not necessarily the same as the test result that you will earn. The highest points are given for those with a CLB score of 9 or higher on all proficiencies. You can retake your language test as many times as is necessary and there are preparatory courses to assist you in studying for the test. Immerse yourself in English or French whether in your home country or in Canada. If you are already in Canada, then only speak English or French to assist you in improving your language skills.

Go Back to School

CRS points are awarded for completion of high school. Obtaining a certificate, diploma or degree garners further CRS points. The maximum CRS points are awarded to applicants with two or more diplomas or degrees, one of which must be a program of study of three years or more. Going back to school to obtain a further diploma or degree can earn you additional CRS points.

Study in Canada

Studying in Canada can earn you CRS points – 15 points for 1 – 2 years of study and 30 points for 3 or more years of studying in Canada. In addition, studying in Canada gives you the opportunity to improve your English or French language proficiency and may also provide you with Canadian work experience. Studying in Canada is one of the best ways to provide you with the opportunities to improve and maximize your CRS points score to qualify for permanent residence under Express Entry.

Earning CRS points can be a challenge. If obtaining Canadian permanent residence is your goal, then there are things that you can do to improve your chances of earning an ITA by increasing your CRS points score. The ideal applicant will have a combination of foreign and Canadian work experience, two post secondary educational credentials and strong proficiency in English and / or French. The good news is that there are options for you to improve your CRS point score to enable you to become a Canadian permanent resident.


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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