How to Increase Your Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking Score

With Express Entry serving as the largest single program for immigrating to Canada, a frequent topic of discussion is how to improve a Comprehensive Ranking Score in order to receive an invitation to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada.

There are usually several options available to Express Entry candidates who want to improve their Comprehensive Ranking Scores (CRS); but manipulating the points requires a multifaceted perspective that takes into consideration that changes in one area of the CRS may affect the scores in a different section. It is a wise investment to consult with a professional on how best to spend your efforts to improve your CRS points. You will save yourself significant $ if you prepare a proper strategy based on an informed understanding as opposed to just randomly spending $ to get new language scores, more education or an LMIA. This post combines our top general tips, but keep in mind that the best solution for each individual will depend entirely on their unique combination of factors.

Make your spouse the Principal Applicant

If your spouse or common law partner is fluent in either English or French, well-educated, has at least one year of skilled work experience and is younger than you are, you may find that their Comprehensive Ranking Score (CRS) is higher than yours. If this is your situation, ensure that your spouse or common-law partner also submits an Express Entry profile because only one of you need to be invited in order for the entire family to apply for Permanent Residence in Canada.

Take another Language Test

There is a significant difference in the number of points awarded to an applicant who has CLB 7 as their minimum language score versus an application with CLB 9 as their minimum. If you feel that you have a legitimate expectation to improve your score to meet the CLB 9 threshold, then do some practice tests online or take a prep course, and then write the exam again. Also check to ensure that you have received the maximum allocation of points for any spouse or common law partner’s language results, as it may be worthwhile for them to take another test as well.

Obtain an LMIA

There are a couple of possible ways to benefit from obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment. There are the 50 or 200 direct points that you will obtain under Express Entry simply for having a job offer; but if those points don’t provide enough of a bump to your CRS ranking, you can also obtain a work permit based on the LMIA and increase your CRS points by working in Canada. It’s important to understand how an LMIA will affect your chances before you actually set out to obtain one, so that you can be certain your prospective employer will obtain the correct type of LMIA for your situation. Not every LMIA will afford you the opportunity of a work permit, so you need to understand how and where you need the points in advance of starting the LMIA process.

Study in Canada

Studying in Canada has the potential to provide you with increased points for a Canadian educational credential, increased education points, increased skills transferability points and points for Canadian work experience. However, the pursuit of a Canadian credential may ultimately decrease your points for age and may negate some of the time sensitive factors that you have used to calculate your current score – ie. foreign work experience, language test results or educational credential assessments. It is also not easy to secure a study permit for Canada, particularly for individuals from certain countries. Ensure that you have considered all of the potential outcomes, and get a professional opinion, before you determine that studying in Canada is your best option to increase your CRS ranking.

Gain Foreign Work Experience

Foreign work experience can account for up to 50 CRS points, a significant amount that can make or break your chances to immigrate to Canada. If you don’t have any foreign work experience and need to bump up your CRS ranking score, try calculating your score with one year of foreign work experience and see if that will put you over the hump.

Pass the Trade Exam

Passing a Provincial Trade Exam will afford you either 25 or 50 points, depending on your language scores. Each Province oversees their own system of licensing foreign tradespeople. Research the requirements and eligibility to take the exam by searching the particular province that you would like to move to.

Tradespersons should always complete a profile

If you are a tradesperson, you should always create an Express Entry profile no matter what level of points you receive via the CRS. Because the current educational credential assessment system typically does not recognize foreign trade certification, your scores are likely to be below the minimum required for standard EE draws. However, in the past, IRCC has made specific draws only for those qualified through the Federal Skilled Trades Class and the CRS required was less than 300 points. For that reason, we recommend that any tradesperson qualified for the Federal Skilled Trades Class submit a profile, because you never know when another FSTC specific draw will take place.

Forget about Express Entry

In many instances, individuals who would make great immigrants to Canada will simply not be able to meet the CRS threshold, no matter how many different options are pursued to increase the CRS. Don’t forget there are other options outside of Express Entry, including the Provincial Nominee Programs and the federal Self-employed stream. Sometimes it might be necessary to first pursue a temporary option, like working or studying, in order to assist you to qualify for Permanent Residence through a Provincial Nominee Program.

The Way Immigration would be pleased to help you understand what steps you can take to maximize your Express Entry CRS ranking position, or what other options may be available to you if Express Entry is not going to be a useful option in your situation.



Fran Wipf is an expert in Canadian immigration matters. She was licensed as an immigration consultant in 2008, and since that time, she has assisted thousands of individuals, families and businesses to find Canadian immigration success. You can learn more about Fran, and the services she offers, at


Discover more articles and tips like this

Would you like to see something specific?

All Immigration Tips
Self Employed work experience

Self-employed work experience for immigration

A working holiday visa in Canada is completely open, which gives you a lot of freedom in terms of when, where and what kind of work to do. But like anything in life, just because something is possible, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea! There is a lot to consider before deciding that self-employment is the best option for your time spent working in Canada. Read on to ensure that you understand the immigration limitations of working as self-employed using your working holiday permit.

What is implied status in Canada?

Implied status is one of the concepts that cause the greatest confusion and the most problems for working holiday visa holders. Nothing messes up future plans quite as nicely as an incorrect understanding of implied status, and there seems to be plenty of misunderstanding among the do-it- yourself immigration crowd.
Visitor visa or super visa to Canada

Super Visa or Visitor’s Visa – How to Decide

Living in Canada is great, but it can be difficult when you have left your loved ones back home. Having your parents or grandparents travel to Canada to spend time with your family provides so many benefits both to you and to them. The process of applying for their visas can be confusing and it’s important that you make the right choices, because refusals can be difficult to overcome. This post explains the different types of temporary visas available to parents and grandparents and describes the circumstances when each type of visa is appropriate.
Canadian Family

Top Tips for Super Visa Applications

One of the most difficult things about immigrating to another country is the separation from friends and family in your home country. It’s exciting to think about having your parents or grandparents join you in Canada for an extended period of time, and a properly prepared Super Visa application can make that possible. In this article, we provide our best tips to help you maximize the benefit that your family will obtain from the Super Visa process.
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap