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How to improve your CRS Score in Canada's Express Entry for 2019

Unless the Canadian government fine tunes Express Entry this year, here are the tips you need to improve your ranking in Canada's Skilled Migrant selection system.

Crispin ArandaOriginally posted on September 11, 2018; updated September 11, 2018

How to improve your CRS Score in Canada's Express Entry for 2019

Largest draw, lowest CRS points in Express Entry for 2018

Even if you’re driving the latest Formula One car or a Maserati traversing EDSA from Monumento to Roxas Boulevard on a morning rush hour, the driver of an Avanza going to the same destination will beat you to Roxas Boulevard if you stay at EDSA and do not know the alternative routes.

Same with the Express Entry – Canada’ immigrant selection system for Skilled Workers.

The straightforward and shortest way that everybody uses to be in the candidate pool is the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).You only need 67 points to qualify. But as in the Philippines, most of the times, the fastest way is not the shortest hence the terminology “long-cut” instead of “short-cut.”

3,900 Candidates were selected from the Express Entry pool, the largest number this year and the be third time that the CRS points to invited was set at 440, the lowest this year.

The table below shows the CRS points for invited candidates; applicants for permanent residency who used side streets and parallel roads in the permanent residency (PR) pathway.

Draw Dates

CRS Points

No. of Invited Candidates

05 Sept



22 Aug



25 July



11 July



25 June



23 May



09 May



25 Apr



11 Apr



15 Nov’17



Unless you are already working in Canada – as a temporary worker or an international student allowed to work – overseas applicants should aspire to improve his or her chance of being selected.

Understanding the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Criteria

PR candidates submit their expression their interest in immigrating to Canada by completing an online profile. Candidate profiles are screened electronically to determine eligibility in at least 1 of the 3 federal immigration programs. The profile is electronically screened to determine if the candidate meets the criteria of at least 1 of the 3 federal immigration programs mentioned previously.

Based on the profiles, candidates are given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score and subsequently placed in the Express Entry pool. Candidates compete with one another in ranking relative to individual CRS scores.

Not being selected in draws during the one-year validity period does not mean a Candidate stands no chance of being invited. Each time candidates are invited to apply and taken out of the pool or new ones added, the CRS scores also change.

CRS and Candidate Scores

A candidate’s CRS score has two components: the “core” CRS component and the additional points component. The core CRS score can reach a maximum of 600 points and is based on a combination of the candidate’s age, education, official language proficiency and work experience.

A candidate’s Core scores play a significant factor towards a higher earning potential. High scores in Language proficiency, for example could add a maximum of 50 points. Then there is the matter of civil status. A single, unmarried Express Entry candidate may appear to have the advantage of having higher scores in the Core factors, but the additional points for the other criteria, e.g., spouse or partner’s language proficiency, education and work experience would bring the total earnings higher than an unmarried Candidate.

Additional factors added to the criteria for determining CRS scores are civil-status neutral: having a sibling who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for example and having at least basic proficiency in a second official language could further bolster scores.

A. Core / human capital factors


Points per factor - With a spouse or common-law partner

Points per factor - Without a spouse or common-law partner




Level of education 



Official languages proficiency 



Canadian work experience 



What are the alternative routes – or ways to improve your score and ranking?

The two other programs or routes to permanent residency selection within Express Entry are the Federal Skilled Trades Worker Program and the Canadian Experience class.  However, both these alternate routes require a job offer or a required period of legal employment in Canada.


Proficiency in one or two official languages is the least expensive way for more points

While the FSWP program only requires a minimum CLB Level 7 (IELTS equivalent of  6.0 in all components) this proficiency level only gets you into the candidate pool. Higher proficiency such as 8.5 in Listening, 8.0 in Reading and 7.5 in Writing and Speaking bolster your total CRS scores and make.

The table below illustrates the additional points you get by combining your Language Proficiency scores with your Education. A CLB of 9 or higher is needed in all four language abilities — reading, speaking, writing and listening — to get the maximum of 50 points.

A spouse/partner’s language ability could add another 20 points max at CLB Level or 9 or more in each of the language component.

Educational Level

CRS points earned

Secondary school


Post-secondary program credential of one or more years + first language CLB 7 or more in all abilities (at least one ability needs to be less than CLB 9)


Post-secondary program credential of one or more years + first language CLB 9 or more in all abilities


Two or more post-secondary program credentials (one at least 3 years) +  CLB 7 or more in all abilities for first language (at least one ability needs to be less than CLB 9)


Two or more post-secondary program credentials (one at least 3 years) + CLB 9 or more in all abilities for first language


A CLB of 9 or higher is needed in all four language abilities — reading, speaking, writing and listening — in order to obtain the maximum of 50 points.

Fine-tuning the Express Entry engine

When Express Entry was launched 600 points were awarded to candidates with qualifying arranged offer of employment and those nominated by a Canadian province or territory.

On November 19, 2016, while awarding additional points for those who have obtained Canadian educational credentials, Express Entry lowered the points for arranged employment from 600 to a maximum of only 200.

Then on June 6, 2017, further changes were made to Express Entry. Additional points are awarded to Candidates with French-language proficiency or a sibling in Canada, 30 and 15 respectively.

Language, Language, Language

An essential rule in determining the value of real estate is location, location, location.  In Express Entry, the equivalent is “:Language, language, language.”

For reasons cited above, high scores in the official languages when combined with a Candidate and spouse/partner’s education yield higher scores and better results.

And, when combined with the applicants work experience obtained in or outside Canada, more points are added for the best possible candidate profile and invitation to apply for permanent residency through Express Entry.

Good luck, mga Kavisas. Have a safe journey, no matter how long it takes.



Authors & Contributors

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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