Express Entry: How to Improve Your CRS Score
Perfecting your profile
Representing yourself accurately in your Express Entry profile is extremely important. Not only could it earn you extra Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, but there are also serious penalties for misrepresenting yourself. The first thing to keep in mind is that the credentials required to enter the Express Entry pool are not necessarily the same as those that will maximize your CRS score.
Education can count for up to 230 CRS points and may be improved by obtaining additional credentials, for example completing another degree, or by obtaining additional Educational Credential Assessments (ECAs) for existing degrees. An ECA is required in order to obtain CRS points for education obtained outside of Canada. For the Federal Skilled Worker Class candidates educated outside of Canada, only one ECA is required of the principal applicant in order to enter the pool. For candidates in the Federal Skilled Trades Class or the Canadian Experience Class, no ECA is required to enter the Express Entry pool.
Spouse or common-law partner might be a better Principal Applicant
If you have a spouse or common-law partner, it may be beneficial to compare your CRS scores as principal applicants. Sometimes a main applicant’s CRS score may, in fact, be lower than that of their accompanying partner. In such cases, it may be advisable for a spouse or common-law partner to be the principal applicant. Here’s an example of a situation where a spouse or common-law partner may actually be a better principal applicant.
Obtaining additional work experience or better documenting current work experience may both help increase a candidate’s CRS score. Some candidates who have a job title that seems unskilled may, in fact, have performed duties that are considered skilled under Canada’s National Occupation Classification, or NOC. Going beyond job title, and measuring the duties you performed against the duties listed in the NOC’s different occupations can help determine if your work is considered skilled or unskilled. This, in turn, can result in points you might have otherwise not claimed. After selecting the right NOC for your work experience, the next step is calculating how much time you spent at each job. Points are awarded for full-time or equivalent part-time work experience.
Candidates with a valid job offer may obtain either 50 or 200 additional points towards their CRS score depending on the position. Candidates with a valid job offer in an occupation at the NOC 0, A or B level may earn 50 additional points towards their CRS score. Candidates with a valid job offers in an occupation under the Major Group 00 Senior Management Occupations classification may be awarded an additional 200 points under the CRS. IRCC says a job offer must be in writing and must detail the job requirements, including pay/deductions, job duties and conditions of employment.
Work Experience and Provincial Nominee Programs
Documenting your work experience as precisely as possible can also make you eligible for a nomination by one of Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program, better known as PNPs. Express Entry candidates nominated by a Canadian province for permanent residence are awarded an additional 600 points toward their CRS score. Provinces sometimes look for candidates with specific work experience that you may, in fact, have, but do not consider to be relevant because it is not related to your principal occupation.