Detour to Canada

Need to Increase your CRS Score? Here are 9 Actionable Ways


“How can I increase my CRS score?”

If you’re an Express Entry applicant, chances are you’re also asking this question. Especially if you’re applying under the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

As we know, only those with the highest CRS score get invited by Canada to apply for permanent residency. So for you to be able to fulfill your Canadian dream, you should be among these top scorers. 

The question is, how much CRS score should you aim to get? And if you finally have your points but it’s below the ideal CRS score, can you still increase it? If so, then how?

The good news is that yes, you can still increase your CRS score. And whatever score you have right now, it’s not final. It could still go up without you having to create a new profile. All you have to do is try any or a combination of the ways I’ll share in this post.

Are you ready?

DISCLAIMER: This article is not meant to substitute professional advice. Information were gathered from both the author’s actual immigration experience and  from official websites. To verify the most-up-to-date information, check

How to Increase Your Express Entry CRS Score

How CRS works

Before we get to it, let’s first talk about how CRS works. 

In case you’re not familiar with it yet, CRS stands for the Comprehensive Ranking System. This is what Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada or IRCC use to decide what score to give to every Express Entry candidate. 

If you still don’t have your CRS score, you’d get this after you’ve completed your Express Entry profile. Your CRS score is the total of all the points you’ve collected based on your information. 

These points are based on these factors:

  • Your age
  • Level of education
  • Language proficiency in English and/or French, and
  • Work experience

If your spouse is coming with you, you can get points from the following:

  • Your spouse’s level of education
  • Language proficiency in English and/or French, and
  • Canadian work experience (if any)

You can also get additional points if you have any or all of the following:

  • Sibling in Canada who’s either a permanent resident or citizen
  • French language skills
  • College education in Canada
  • Valid Canadian job offer
  • Provincial nomination

In total, you can get a maximum CRS score of 1,200 points. You can see here from IRCC’s website the actual CRS pointing system.

If you haven’t created your Express Entry profile yet, here’s a step-by-step guide.

What’s the ideal CRS score?

You may have heard somewhere that you should aim to get a CRS score of 470 points and above. Or someone might have advised you to check the previous rounds of invitations; then aim to get at least a score of the lowest ranking candidates for the past rounds. 


what is the ideal CRS score

But for me, I’ll aim for at least 501 points.

I’ll post a more detailed explanation in another article of why I gave this figure. But in this particular post, I’ll only give you a gist.

As of October 25, 2021, there were a total of 185,774 candidates in the Express Entry pool. And here’s the distribution of points among these candidates. 

Express Entry Pool as of October 25
Screenshot from

If your CRS score is 501 points or higher, you belong to the top 4,200 candidates. So if IRCC sends out 5,000 invitations, you’re guaranteed to receive an ITA. An ITA from Canada is equal to a 99% chance of being a permanent resident.

However, even if you have 501 points and above, I’d still advise you to aim for an even higher score. And that’s because IRCC doesn’t always send out 5,000 invitations. The number varies widely and it can go as low as only 200 invitations.

But most candidates don’t even get close to 501 points. Like in our case. Back then, we only had 438 points. With these points, our chances of getting an ITA are as close as to making a grumpy old man laugh. Possible, but difficult. 

But we were able to increase our CRS score and finally got the most-awaited ITA. 

If you’re also among these candidates who got a score of less than 500, here are the ways you can do to increase your CRS score.

Short-term (or faster) ways to increase your CRS score:

  1. Check if you’ve claimed all your points
  2. Re-take your language test 

Long-term ways to increase your CRS score:

  1. Gain more work experience 
  2. Upgrade your education
  3. Get a valid Canadian job offer
  4. Study in Canada
  5. Work in Canada
  6. Learn the French language
  7. Get a provincial nomination

Let’s talk about each of these ways one by one. But to make this easier to understand, let’s use a fictional character named Tony. 

Meet Tony and his family

Tony is an Express Entry candidate under the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Just like you, his ultimate dream is to immigrate to Canada with his wife and kids. But the problem is, his CRS score is just 350. 

Aside from the fact that there’s been no draw for FSWP this 2021, he’s still hopeful. But he doesn’t want to leave his chance to luck. So, he explored the above ways starting from those that could give him faster results.

#1 Check first if you’ve claimed your all points

If you haven’t done this before, this is the fastest way to increase your CRS score. In the case of our fictional character, Tony, he hasn’t claimed all the points he can get yet. If you’re in the same situation as Tony, then this is for you. 

There are three areas where you can increase your current CRS score depending on these three situations:

  1. If you have a spouse
  2. If you have a sibling (permanent resident or citizen) in Canada 
  3. If you have one or more academic degrees
Check if you've claimed all your points

Do you have a spouse? 

Tony’s wife is coming with him to Canada. But she hasn’t taken her language test and didn’t get an ECA for her college degree.

“We didn’t think it was necessary since I’m the principal applicant,” was Tony’s reason. 

What they didn’t know was that they’re missing as much as 40 points because they skipped these steps!

If you’re like Tony, here’s where you can get points from your spouse.

How to increase your CRS score through the spouse factors
Screenshot from

If you haven’t claimed these points like Tony, here are your next steps:

Schedule a language test for your spouse. He/she only needs to get at least CLB 5. In CELPIP, it’s a straight 5s in each of the four abilities. In IELTS, it’s equivalent to the following: 

  • 4 for Reading 
  • 5 each for Listening, Speaking, and Writing

Quite easy, right? But it’s only an additional 4 points.

So the most ideal is to get a CLB 9 or above, which is also a straight 9s in CELPIP. In IELTS, CLB 9 is 8 in Listening, and 7 in the other three abilities. If your spouse can get as much as CLB 9, you can increase your CRS score up to 20 more points.

Get your spouse’s Education Credential Assessment (ECA) from World Education Services (WES) or any designated institutions. You can increase your CRS score up to 10 points especially if your spouse has a Master’s or Ph.D. But even if he/she only has at least a 2-year program in her ECA, that’s already a 7-point increase in your CRS score.

Tony’s wife has no Canadian work experience. Most likely, your spouse doesn’t have one, too. Otherwise, you can claim up to 10 points especially if his/her work experience is for 5 years or more.

Depending on your spouse’s level of education, language test score, and Canadian work experience (if any), you can increase your CRS score from as little as 11 points or as much as 40 points. 

How Tony's score went up from 350 to 369

Let’s say that Tony’s wife took her language test and requested her ECA from WES. She got a CLB 7 in her IELTS test, which gave Tony an additional 12 point increase in his CRS score. Meanwhile, her college degree based on her ECA is equivalent to a 2-year program in Canada. This gave Tony an additional 7 point increase in his CRS score.

So from 350, Tony’s CRS score has increased to 369 points! 

If you don’t have a spouse but have a common-law partner of 12 months or more, you can still claim points as long as you can prove your relationship.


Do you have a sibling in Canada who’s already a permanent resident or a citizen? 

Tony has a brother living in Canada who’s already a permanent resident. But he didn’t initially know that he could get points from him. 

If you also have a brother or a sister in Canada (who’s either a permanent resident or a citizen), you can increase your CRS score up to 15 points. 

Right now, IRCC only gives points for brothers or sisters. So if you have a family member in Canada who’s not your sibling, you can’t claim points for this factor. However, you can still get points for some provincial nominee programs (we’ll go to that in another post).

Going back to Tony’s CRS score, he now has a total of 384 points.

Tony has a brother in Canada

Do you have one or more academic degrees?

Tony has both a Master’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree from the Philippines. But he only sent his Master’s degree credentials to WES. When he learned that he can also get points for his Bachelor’s degree, he sent it to WES for evaluation. 

So now, from 112 points under the Education factor, Tony now has 119 points. From 384 points, his score has increased again to 391 points.

If you also have an ECA of at least a 3-year program or higher AND you have finished another one or more degrees, you can increase your CRS score by up to 7 points. It’s not much but who knows? Maybe these extra 7 points might just push you up the ranks. Just send your other completed academic degrees for assessment to claim your points. 

Tony has 2 academic degrees

For Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) Candidates

This post is mainly for FSWP candidates like Tony, but if you’re a CEC or FSTP candidate, here’s another way for you to increase your CRS score. Since there’s no minimum education level for these two programs, some candidates don’t get their education assessed anymore. If you’re among them, you have a chance to increase your CRS score of between 28 to 140 points. 

If you have a post-secondary education (or a college degree), get an ECA so you can claim your points for education factors. 

So in total, you can get as much as a 62-point increase in your CRS score just by claiming your points in these three areas. As you have seen from Tony’s example, from 350 points, his CRS score increased to 391 points. And I wasn’t even done talking about the other 8 ways to increase your CRS score.

#2 Retake your language test

In Tony’s case, he only got a CLB 7 in his IELTS test.

If you’re like him and you only got a score below CLB 10, another faster way to increase your CRS score is to retake your test. In IELTS, CLB 10 is equivalent to the following score in each ability:

  • 8 in Reading
  • 7.5 in Writing
  • 8.5 in Listening
  • 7.5. in Speaking

In CELPIP, it’s a straight 10s in each of the four abilities.

Most FSWP candidates like Tony only target CLB 7 since it’s the minimum requirement. But CLB 7 only gives you 64 points in your CRS score. If you retake your test and you get CLB 8, your CRS points for language will increase from 64 to 88 points. And if you happen to get CLB 10, then you can get the maximum score for language skills which is a whopping 128 points.

Increase your CRS score by retaking your language test

In your case, if you can get at least a CLB 9 in your language test in all four abilities, you get the following increase in your CRS score under the Skill Transferability Factor (STF):

  • either a 12 or 25-point increase under Education (in STF), and 
  • either a 25 or 50-point increase under Foreign Work Experience (also in STF).

From what we’ve seen from Tony’s example, his CRS score significantly increased from 391 points to 555 by retaking his language test.

However, don’t forget that Tony is just a fictional character. And my computations here might be a bit inaccurate (feel free to correct me). But from his example, we can see how retaking your language test and improving your result can significantly increase your CRS score. Even if it’s not as much as 100 points like in our example, an increase is still an increase.

Tony has increased his CRS score by retaking his IELTS

Long-terms Ways to Increase your CRS Score

The first two ways we gave above are the short-term ways to increase your CRS score. If you’ve done these ways and you still don’t see a significant increase in your CRS score, don’t lose hope. There are other ways you can try. 

However, since these are long-term ways, you need extra patience. And take note that if you’re 30-year-old and above, you lose 5 points each year under the age factor. So consider your age first as you decide which ways to try.

Again, here are these ways and the additional points you can get:

  1. Gain more work experience. If you originally have 1-2 years of skilled work experience outside Canada and you’re below 29, you can get 12 more points in your CRS score if you gain another year of work experience. 
  2. Upgrade your education. If you’re still in your 20s, you may consider getting another degree or pursuing higher education so you can claim as close to the maximum 140 points under the education factor. But this may not apply to you if you’re going to turn 30 by the time you graduate (because you’ll start to lose 5 points each year which may just offset the extra points you’ll get).
  3. Get a valid Canadian job offer. An entry-level position in a skilled job in Canada can get you an extra 50 points. But if you can get a valid job offer for a senior management position, you can get an additional 200 points. However, take note that it’s a bit challenging to get hired if you’re outside Canada. Still possible though, but tough. 
  4. Study in Canada. If you study and graduate in Canada for a 1 or 2-year program, you can get an extra 15 points in your CRS score (30 points if it’s a program of 3 or more years). But aside from the increase in CRS scores, there are more advantages for being an international student graduate in Canada, and here’s why.
  5. Work in Canada. A Canadian work experience in skilled jobs gives you 70 points in your CRS score under the Human Capital Factors. You can also get extra points under the Skill Transferability Factors. Again, it’s tough to get hired in Canada if you’re applying from outside the country. But if you’re considering this, you can increase your chances of employment by studying first in Canada. 
  6. Learn the French language. If you’re good at learning foreign languages, you may consider learning French. Depending on your French-language test score, you can get up to 74 extra points. Again, it takes time to be proficient in a foreign language so consider your age first.
  7. Get a provincial nomination. I’ve listed this last but this is actually the only way that can give you a significant increase in your CRS score. If you can get a provincial nomination, your CRS score increases by a whopping 600 points. In our case, this was the only way that our CRS score went from 438 to 1,038 points. We didn’t even try the other ways I listed here. But like the other long-term ways, it’s going to take time. And not everyone is eligible for a PNP. But if you are qualified, then just focus on getting one. Aside from increasing your CRS score, it’s almost getting a guarantee of receiving an ITA (Invitation to Apply) for permanent residency.

It’s also important to take note that an Express Entry profile is only valid for a year. So if you’re aiming for any of these long-term ways, make sure to create your new Express Entry profile every time it expires. 

Also, you need to regularly update your profile every time there’s a change in your situation. For example, if you’ve gained one more year of work experience or if you’ve re-taken your IELTS, you need to update your Express Entry profile.

What happened to Tony?


As you’ve read in this post, having a low CRS score isn’t the end of the world for those aspiring to immigrate to Canada. 

There are many ways you can do to increase your CRS score, from retaking your language test to getting a provincial nomination.

In summary, here are again the 9 ways to increase your CRS score:

  1. Check first if you’ve claimed all your points
  2. Re-take your language test 
  3. Gain more work experience 
  4. Upgrade your education
  5. Get a valid Canadian job offer
  6. Study in Canada
  7. Work in Canada
  8. Learn the French language
  9. Get a provincial nomination

When trying to increase your CRS score, the first thing you can do is check if you qualify to a provincial nominee program. A nomination can give you a boost of up to 600 points. In this case, you don’t even need to try the other ways mentioned here. 

But if you’re not qualified to a PNP, or while waiting for a nomination, you can also start with the first two ways mentioned  above. And then depending on your age and if you still don’t have your ideal CRS score, explore the other remaining ways.

Aside from these tips, the most important thing you can do is to lay down your plans to God and allow Him to guide you. Pray for His guidance and ask that if it’s His will that you come to Canada, then let Him lead you to the right path.  

READ: Bible Verses to Inspire Us to Succeed in our Plans

Check out this post for some tips on how you can prepare for your IELTS test, and stay tuned as I share a step-by-step guide on applying for a provincial nomination. 

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Kevin and Kris

About the author:

JK Legaspi is a permanent resident of Canada since 2018. She and her family lives in the beautiful Niagara Region. As the founder of Detour To Canada, she aims to help aspiring and future immigrants reach their Canadian dreams by sharing her family’s own immigration and newcomer story. 

Do you have some questions about immigrating to Canada? Or any feedback in this post? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below!

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