There are a number of steps that you can take to improve your profile and increase your chances of receiving an ITA.

Each case is different, requiring a different approach depending on the profile and CRS score.

Ultimately, you have to identify weak points in your profile by reviewing the CRS and focus on improving areas that can dramatically impact your score.

Sometimes a small change to your profile can make a big difference. Let's explore some of the possibilities:

Retake your language test

Language is a factor where incremental gains can have a significant impact on your overall CRS score:

First official language (with spouse: maximum 128 points / without spouse: maximum 136 points)

CLB Level per Ability

With spouse

Without spouse

Less than CLB 4

0

0

CLB 4 or 5

6

6

CLB 6

8

9

CLB 7

16

17

CLB 8

22

23

CLB 9

29

31

CLB 10 or more

32

34

Language and post-secondary education (maximum 50 points)

CLB 7 or higher and a post-secondary degree

Points for CLB 7 or more on all first official language abilities, with one or more under CLB 9 (Maximum 25 points)

Points for CLB 9 or more on all four first official language abilities (Maximum 50 points)

Secondary (high school) credential or less

0

0

Post-secondary program credential of one year or longer

13

25

Two or more post-secondary program credentials AND at least one of these credentials was issued on completion of a post-secondary program of three years or longer

25

50

A university-level credential at the master’s level or at the level of an entry-to-practice professional degree for an occupation listed in the National Occupational Classification matrix at Skill Level A for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required

25

50

A university-level credential at the doctoral level

25

50

Language and foreign work experience (maximum 50 points)

Years of work experience

Points for foreign work experience + CLB 7 or more on all first official language abilities, one or more under 9 (Maximum 25 points)

Points for foreign work experience + CLB 9 or more on all four first official language abilities (Maximum 50 points)

No foreign work experience

0

0

1 or 2 years of foreign work experience

13

25

3 years or more of foreign work experience

25

50

Language and certificate of qualification (maximum 50 points)

Certificate of qualification (trade occupations) – With [CLB] 5 or higher)

Points for certificate of qualification + CLB 5 or more on all first official language abilities, one or more under 7 (Maximum 25 points)

Points for certificate of qualification + CLB 7 or more on all four first official language abilities (Maximum 50 points)

With a certificate of qualification

25

50

As you can see, achieving a high enough score on your language test(s) should be a crucial point of focus for any Express Entry candidate. 

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Get language test results for a second language (only English or French)

If you are bilingual (English and French), you can claim additional CRS points by undergoing a language test for your second language:

Second official language (with spouse: maximum 22 points / without spouse: maximum 24 points)

CLB Level per Ability

With spouse

Without spouse

CLB 4 or less

0

0

CLB 5 or 6

1

1

CLB 7 or 8

3

3

CLB 9 or more

6

6

You can also earn up to an additional 50 points under the CRS (Adaptability) for French language ability, even if French is your second language:

Adaptability Points (maximum 600 points)

Adaptability

Points

Brother or sister living in Canada who is a citizen or permanent resident of Canada

15

Scored NCLC 7 or higher on all four French language skills and scored CLB 4 or lower in English (or didn’t take an English test)

25

Scored NCLC 7 or higher on all four French language skills and scored CLB 5 or higher on all four English skills

50

Post-secondary education in Canada - credential of one or two years

15

Post-secondary education in Canada - credential three years or longer

30

Arranged employment - NOC 00

200

Arranged employment – any other NOC 0, A or B

50

Provincial or territorial nomination

600

If you score NCLC 7 or higher on all four French language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing), you will get:

  • 25 additional points if you scored CLB 4 or lower in English (or you have not had an English test); or 
  • 50 additional points if you scored CLB 5 or higher on all four English skills

Having an ability in both of Canada’s official languages also increases your chances of being eligible for other Canadian immigration programs, including certain PNPs that specifically target individuals with proficiency in French (such as Ontario’s Express Entry French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream).

Get more work experience or document additional work experience

We recommend documenting any work experience that you have not provided supporting documentation for (if you have any).

For example, you may have some work experience that you chose not to document because you believed it was not “skilled enough”, but is in fact considered skilled according to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. 

The CRS awards points for certain combos under the Skill Transferability section of the points grid, such as:

Language and foreign work experience (maximum 50 points)

Years of work experience

Points for foreign work experience + CLB 7 or more on all first official language abilities, one or more under 9 (Maximum 25 points)

Points for foreign work experience + CLB 9 or more on all four first official language abilities (Maximum 50 points)

No foreign work experience

0

0

1 or 2 years of foreign work experience

13

25

3 years or more of foreign work experience

25

50

Canadian work experience and post-secondary education (maximum 50 points)

Canadian work experience and a post-secondary degree

Points for education + 1 year of Canadian work experience (Maximum 25 points)

Points for education + 2 years or more of Canadian work experience (Maximum 50 points)

Secondary (high school) credential or less

0

0

Post-secondary program credential of one year or longer

13

25

Two or more post-secondary program credentials AND at least one of these credentials was issued on completion of a post-secondary program of three years or longer

25

50

A university-level credential at the master’s level or at the level of an entry-to-practice professional degree for an occupation listed in the National Occupational Classification matrix at Skill Level A for which licensing by a provincial regulatory body is required

25

50

A university-level credential at the doctoral level

25

50

Canadian work experience and foreign work experience (maximum 50 points)

Years of work experience

Points for foreign work experience + 1 year of Canadian work experience
(Maximum 25 points)

Points for foreign work experience + 2 years or more of Canadian work experience

No foreign work experience

0

0

1 or 2 years of foreign work experience

13

25

3 years or more of foreign work experience

25

50

Check to see if your spouse or common-law partner would make a better principal applicant (if applicable)

If you are married or in a common-law relationship, only one of you can be the principal applicant.

Of the two of you, the principal applicant should be the person who meets the eligibility requirements of one of the Express Entry programs and who will be able to achieve the highest CRS score.

You can use the CRS calculator to discover each of your potential CRS scores and evaluate which of you would make the ideal principal applicant.

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Following a successful permanent residence application, all candidates included on the application receive permanent resident status regardless of who the principal applicant is

Improve your education and get multiple credentials evaluated (if applicable)

As with work experience, obtaining an additional degree or undergoing an ECA for any other degrees you have not yet evaluated (and for which you can claim points) can help increase your CRS score: 

Education (with spouse: maximum 140 points / without spouse: maximum 150 points)

Level of Education

With spouse

Without spouse

Less than secondary (high school)

0

0

Secondary (high school)

28

30

One-year degree, diploma or certificate from a university, college, trade or technical school, or other institute

84

90

Two-year program at a university, college, trade or technical school, or other institute

91

98

Bachelor's degree OR a three or more year program at a university, college, trade or technical school, or other institute

112

120

Two or more certificates, diplomas, or degrees. One must be for a program of three or more years

119

128

Master's degree, OR professional degree needed to practice in a licensed profession (For “professional degree,” the degree program must have been in: medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, optometry, law, chiropractic medicine, or pharmacy.)

126

135

Doctoral level university degree (Ph.D.)

140

150

If you have a spouse or common-law partner, an ECA is not mandatory for them to do.

However, submitting an ECA as a secondary applicant may allow the primary applicant to claim extra CRS points for the spouse/common-law partner’s education:

Spouse's education (with spouse: maximum 10 points / without spouse: does not apply)

Level of Education

With spouse

Without spouse

Less than secondary (high school)

0

n/a

Secondary (high school)

2

n/a

One-year degree, diploma or certificate from a university, college, trade or technical school, or other institute

6

n/a

Two-year program at a university, college, trade or technical school, or other institute

7

n/a

Bachelor's degree OR a three or more year program at a university, college, trade or technical school, or other institute

8

n/a

Two or more certificates, diplomas, or degrees. One must be for a program of three or more years

9

n/a

Master's degree, OR professional degree needed to practice in a licensed profession (For “professional degree,” the degree program must have been in: medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, optometry, law, chiropractic medicine, or pharmacy.)

10

n/a

Doctoral level university degree (Ph.D.)

10

n/a

Make sure that your profile is always accurate and up-to-date

If anything changes in your life, such as starting a new job or getting a divorce, make sure that the information in your profile reflects the change.

Having an accurate profile is extremely important.

Providing false information can potentially result in your application being refused.

If you misrepresent your qualifications on your profile (or application for permanent residence), you may be subject to a 5-year ban from submitting any further immigration or temporary residence applications, so always ensure that your information is up-to-date and accurate.

Keep in mind that if you receive an ITA, your profile will be "locked" and you will not be able to revise it unless you decline the ITA.

As a general rule, always keep your profile updated and make sure it remains accurate.

Stay up-to-date on Canadian immigration

Subscribe to the Canadian government's Express Entry newsletter for updates whenever there is news. 

It is in your best interest to be on top of Canadian immigration news so you can react quickly if a draw occurs or a new immigration stream becomes available.

Contact Canadian provinces

By contacting Canadian provinces, they may select you for immigration through a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) (more in module 7). 

Obtaining a provincial or territorial nomination can have a tremendous impact on your chances of receiving an ITA, essentially guaranteeing that you are invited to apply:

Adaptability Points (maximum 600 points)

Adaptability

Points

Brother or sister living in Canada who is a citizen or permanent resident of Canada

15

Scored NCLC 7 or higher on all four French language skills and scored CLB 4 or lower in English (or didn’t take an English test)

25

Scored NCLC 7 or higher on all four French language skills and scored CLB 5 or higher on all four English skills

50

Post-secondary education in Canada - credential of one or two years

15

Post-secondary education in Canada - credential three years or longer

30

Arranged employment - NOC 00

200

Arranged employment – any other NOC 0, A or B

50

Provincial or territorial nomination

600

Final thoughts

Our best advice is to be proactive and resourceful. Think outside the box.

The more you understand about the CRS and what contributes to your score, the more strategic you can be about maximizing your chances.

After all, you are competing against many other candidates in the Express Entry pool just like you.

The advantage goes to those who are informed and willing to take the extra steps necessary to stand out from the crowd.

In the next module, you will learn how the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) interacts with Express Entry and the CRS. Let's continue.