Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Immigration to Canada: Tips for Improving Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System Scores

 Immigration to Canada: Tips for Improving Your Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System Score
 By David Cohen
Senior Partner, Campbell Cohen

In January of 2015, the government of Canada introduced a system called Express Entry to manage applications for three popular Canadian immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC), and Canadian Experience Class (CEC).



Whereas the old system treated applications on a first-come, first-served basis, Express Entry involves the government selecting candidates from a pool on a priority basis, according to a ranking score, using a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Points are awarded differently under the CRS than under the three immigration programs, and candidates have a large incentive to gain as many ranking points as possible. Doing so increases their chances of receiving the all-important Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence.

Express Entry candidates should know that increasing their score beyond the eligibility requirements is key, and that being eligible to enter the pool is a different thing than having enough points to obtain an ITA.

Distribution of Points within the CRS
The CRS awards points for a candidate’s age, level of education, language ability in English and/or French, work experience (both in Canada and abroad), whether he or she has a job offer in Canada, and whether a Canadian province has issued him or her a nomination certificate through one of the enhanced Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) categories. Additional points may be awarded to candidates who obtain a province-recognized certificate of qualification in a trade.

Certain factors, as well as combinations of factors, are rewarded more than others. Moreover, candidates with an accompanying spouse, common-law or conjugal partner (hereafter ‘spouse’) see a slight difference in how the various factors are weighted, as certain spousal factors are also taken into account.

There are a total of 1,200 points available, of which 600 may be awarded for a job offer or provincial nomination. Of the remaining half, up to 500 are available for human capital factors in their own right, and 100 for skills transferability combinations of those human capital factors. Of the 40 Express Entry draws that have taken place so far, 35 draws have seen ITAs issued to candidates who had neither a job offer nor a provincial nomination.

Increasing CRS Score
The nuances of the system dictate that there are numerous ways in which a candidate in the pool can increase his or her ranking. These nuances are important, as even a seemingly slight change in one factor—for example, improving a language ability from intermediate level to initial advanced—can have hugely positive effects on one’s ranking. Although many potential improvements may seem obvious, others are not so obvious.

Education
Let’s first look at education, a highly valued factor under the CRS. There is much to consider on this front, but we’ll begin with candidates who enter the pool under the CEC program. Although FSWC candidates who studied outside Canada must prove their education credential(s) by way of an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA), CEC candidates may enter the pool without an ECA or Canadian credential. Some CEC candidates might enter the pool, sit back, and wait for an ITA. They could be waiting a long time, however, and often in vain, but they can increase their score by having their level(s) of education assessed. Doing so can bring up to 200 points—150 for human capital, with a bonus 50 in combination with Canadian work experience and/or language ability. Having a bachelor’s degree assessed can bring up to 170 points. So, educated CEC candidates in the pool with no ECA, I have a simple question: what are you waiting for? Get your ECA as soon as possible.

There are other potential ways in which candidates from all three programs may claim additional points through education. For candidates with more than one post-secondary credential, getting each credential assessed is recommended. Canadian equivalencies may vary from one credential to another, the CRS awards points for multiple credentials, and any credential may help a candidate become eligible under a PNP. If an Express Entry PNP category opens and you need to react quickly, it is crucial to have a fully updated education section in your profile. Proving all your education, and not just what might be deemed the highest level, can be important in this regard.

Furthermore, completing an additional level of education can also be beneficial. Some candidates are only a few courses or months away from completing a degree, diploma or certificate that, when assessed, would help to improve their ranking under the CRS. Other proactive candidates may consider enrolling in a higher level of education, knowing that completing the program would increase their chances of realizing their Canadian immigration goals.

Language
Language is another crucial factor, as it is worth up to 260 points. Fluent English and/or French speakers may have maximized their points potential on entry to the pool. Candidates with room for improvement in language test results, however, should consider preparing for and re-taking a test. Any improvement across any of the four abilities (speaking, writing, reading, and listening) may bring a corresponding improvement in CRS ranking, but the big payoff occurs when a candidate reaches initial advanced level (Canadian Language Benchmark 9) across the board. When this happens, he or she may trigger a higher threshold in the combination factors and receive up to 100 points, in addition to the points received for the language factor in its own right.

A final note on language—bilingual candidates should take language tests in both English and French. By not doing so, they are leaving up to 24 points on the table, unclaimed.

Work
Although Canadian work experience is more valued than non-Canadian work experience, the latter is nonetheless a factor within the combinations. For example, a candidate with strong language skills (CLB 9 or better across the board), but who only has one or two years of skilled work experience outside Canada, may be awarded 25 points. As soon as he or she adds a third year of experience, however, an additional 25 points may be awarded. So, a word to the wise—keep working!

For candidates with Canadian work experience, similar principles apply, only the potential for obtaining points is greater because of two things: Canadian work experience is valued as a factor in its own right (i.e., not only in combination with something else, as non-Canadian work experience is), and points may be gathered for up to five years of experience. If you’re working a skilled job in Canada, keep at it and ensure you maintain your legal work status throughout.

I would also advise candidates to update their profile with any additional work experience, even if it does not directly increase CRS score. I say this because doing so may help to make a candidate eligible for a PNP category. You may not increase your score by a few points today, but you may increase it by 600 points tomorrow.

Couples Increasing Their Chances
The improvements outlined above are applicable to all candidates, whether they have an accompanying spouse or not. Candidates with a spouse, however, may have additional potential for improving their CRS score because the spouse’s level of education, language ability, and Canadian work experience may all be rewarded. Up to 40 points may be awarded for the spouse’s factors, 20 of which may be awarded for language ability (and 10 each for education and Canadian work experience). Having a spouse sit a language test and/or obtain an ECA could bring hugely valuable points. Moreover, some PNP categories reward the spouse of an applicant for his or her education, work or study experience and/or language ability.

Furthermore, every couple should carefully review who should be the principal applicant. Indeed, there is nothing to stop both partners from each creating a profile. Consider the following scenario: a 36 year-old rocket scientist and his or her 29 year-old partner, who works as a cook, want to immigrate to Canada. The rocket scientist may appear to be the superior candidate, but, other things being equal, it is in fact the cook who would be awarded more points, simply because he or she is younger. We could substitute surgeon for rocket scientist and plumber for cook and the result would be the same. In addition, it should be noted that three years of skilled work experience is worth the same as 10 or 15 years, as the number of points awarded ‘caps out’ at three years. With this in mind, it is worth seeing if a candidate’s spouse can obtain more points as the principal applicant.

Provincial Nominee Programs
Each of the above sections have touched on the reality that every improvement to a candidate’s profile may also bring the candidate closer to being eligible to apply to an Express Entry PNP category—and this is really where the big gains are to be found. We’re talking about 600 points, an ITA at a subsequent draw, and a straight pathway to permanent residence. To achieve this, however, it’s important to display your full education and work record, stay up to date on Canadian immigration news, and have all your documents ready and reviewed in preparation to make an application promptly. PNP categories often open and close quickly, sometimes within days or even hours.

Saskatchewan’s Express Entry-aligned PNP category, for example, has opened and closed seven times since it was first introduced last year. Not only that, but it recently changed its eligible occupations list—a change that came with no prior warning. Candidates who are not ready to apply to a PNP, or who do not keep their profile up to date, are in a far worse position than organized, knowledgeable candidates.

Combinations Are Key
As I have outlined above, the skills transferability factors (also known as combinations) are an oft-forgotten or underestimated area for boosting a CRS ranking. I can’t stress enough how much these combinations may be the key to success. Very often, candidates are so wrapped up in one or two areas that they miss the forest for the trees, so please consider combinations when looking at improving your CRS score.

Obtaining a Job by Networking and Visiting Canada
Obtaining a Canadian job offer from abroad is a difficult, though not impossible, task. The task becomes far more realistic, however, if you network, make connections, and secure interviews. Employers generally prefer to meet with potential employees in person, and therefore potential candidates in Canada have an advantage. Serious candidates for immigration to Canada should consider taking the time to make a visit to Canada in preparation for the major life decision they are taking. Before coming, they can set up interviews and networking opportunities, perhaps even coordinate the visit with a jobs fair or similar recruitment event.

Not only would visiting Canada increase a candidate’s chances of landing a skilled job, it may also increase their PNP options, as certain PNPs reward individuals for their previous visit(s) to a province.

A Final Note
If I was to offer only one piece of advice to Express Entry candidates, it would be don’t lose heart. Explore all your options across human capital factors, combinations, work in Canada and PNPs, and give this everything you’ve got. It will be worth it in the end.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Attorney David Cohen is senior partner at the Campbell Cohen Canadian immigration law firm and has been practicing Canadian immigration law for more than 35 years. He graduated from Montreal's McGill University, Faculty of Law, and is a member of the Quebec and Canadian Bar Associations, as well as the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

In 1994, Attorney Cohen launched CanadaVisa.com, now recognized as the most comprehensive online source of information on the Canadian immigration process. To learn more, visit CanadaVisa.com. Attorney Cohen is also the editor-in-chief of the widely read Canada Immigration Newsletter, published on CICNews.com.

57 comments:

  1. Thats a great article on improving the score and rank. Thanks for that :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Can anybody tell me why there is a lot emphasis on IELTS or language??? I think the score you need today in IELTS to achieve approval is that much high that if any canadian born give english test he might not get the required band... very poor system

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's absolutely correct.. is it a business or what because candidates have to appear for an exam number of times to get that particular score in IELTS and thereafter it is not necessary that score will be achieved

      Delete
    2. Moreover, IELTS score is valid for 2 years only.. This is ridiculous.

      Delete
    3. I'm English and I had to take IELTS too, for the reason that you give - that some might not have good language skills (the nation of your passport doesn't predetermine your fluency).
      The sad reality is that good English skills can be the difference between holding down a good job and not, although it depends on your career choice of course. I've seen this myself as an employer and employee.
      BTW - The English folks I know tend to score 8 or 9 in IELTS, and once you've passed the threshold for points it doesn't really make a difference to anything but one's pride!

      Delete
    4. pls tell me the score needed to get before i apply.

      Delete
    5. When Express Entry was first introduced nearly two years ago, the government’s goal was to create an immigration system that brings newcomers to Canada who can settle into the Canadian labour market and society easily. Towards this end, a number of factors are considered and assigned different values within the Comprehensive Ranking System. Among these factors, language proficiency is considered extremely valuable as it helps newcomers to obtain gainful employment and settle into communities across the country.

      However, candidates can still obtain high language scores without receiving perfect language test results. For example, the maximum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) an individual can show on a language test is CLB 12, but candidates receive the maximum number of points available for any score(s) equal to or above CLB 10. For the skill transferability combinations, the highest combinations may be triggered at CLB 9.

      The Express Entry system and first version of the CRS have been a learning experience for the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly CIC), employers and candidates alike. Canada’s recently elected (November, 2015) Liberal government, which was not in office when Express Entry was first launched, has announced that it plans to increase the immigration numbers and change the CRS. Until the time that the CRS changes, candidates can still take steps to succeed under the current system.

      Many candidates who do not obtain a high CRS score based on their human capital and skill transferability have still had success under the Express Entry system. Among these are individuals who did not have perfect, or even advanced, language proficiency. According to the government of Canada’s year-end Express Entry report, 57% of candidates who received an ITA in 2015 had Core CRS scores of less than 450. Core CRS indicates a candidate’s score without the additional 600 points for a job offer or a provincial nomination. More than 3,000 candidates who received an ITA in 2015 had core CRS scores of between 200 and 249. A score of 200 becomes 800 with a PNP or job offer. Besides PNP and job offers, Canadian work experience is also a factor that can significantly increase a candidate’s CRS score.

      I hope this clarifies the issue and answers the important points raised in your question.

      Delete
    6. I have recently Given IELTS and secured each 6.5 (Reading 7.5, Listening 8,Writing 6.5, Speaking 6.5)

      I have Bechlor of engineering degree & almost 8 years of working experience across IT/ISP/Telecom domain.

      Age: 31 years completed

      Am I eligible for PR in any options ?

      Delete
    7. base on the information you provided, you appear to be Eligible

      Delete
    8. The valuable factors for an immigration are adaptation of language, culture,and public & social discipline. The bottom line is adaptation of environment where one is emigrating.

      Delete
  3. Subsequently, after spending many hours on the internet at last We have uncovered an individual that definitely does know what they are discussing many thanks a great deal wonderful post. go here

    ReplyDelete
  4. they need at least 1 year of Canadian experience to apply under CEC, then they are taking more than an year to approve PNP by the time work permits are getting expired.. People are wasting their money on Lawyers or in process result is nothing

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very good article for prospective applicants to EE. The penultimate paragraph advising to network and travel to Canada in the pursuit of that prized job offer is good from a theoretical perspective. However, for persons entering on a visitor's visa, wouldn't that blur the genuine intent to visit Canada temporarily? I understand the dual-intent doctrine, however it seems a bit risky for the temorary resident visitor who opts to bring along resumes and gets pulled into secondary inspection on arrival. Any thoughts? This doesn't apply to me as I am on transition to an open work permit, however even as a student ('temporary resident') I was faced with this dilemma in the past and I know many others are too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. For education are you saying that my sister should have her high school assessed, then pay again and have her 2 year secretarial course assessed, then pay again and have her 5 year hairdressing apprentiship assessed as she would then get more points?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG no ... Lol you should only send in the degree you want to use in Canada for work.... High school Diploma is not enough.

      Delete
  7. His blogs are always helpful!
    But this system is not efficient
    to apply under CEC you need at least 1 year of Canadian experience
    for PNP they are taking more than 1 year
    People are spending money on lawyers and in process itself.
    After a while work permit gets expired... Go Home after this huge expense on immigration process (If you are going by the book)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have created a CIC account then an Express Entry profile, first I got an eligible profile entering the pool. After, I noticed that I have entered my name not like the one in my passport, therefore, I tried to update my profile it gave an eligible result. By mistake, I thought that I need to creat a new CIC account from the beginning instead a new profile as I learned later. Once, I created the 2nd Account, every time I enter the data and trying to make a new profile, the immediate response is that ineligible profile, I hope that anyone could help me with that issue, as I think I have to delete the second CIC account!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly thesame thing happened to me!

      Delete
    2. first u need to check your basic points. Either u r getting 67 points or not. mention here about your all factors first

      Delete
    3. delete your old (incorrect profile) then create the correct one.

      Delete
  9. I think that there is no way to improve your score if you are above the age of 50. The only way to go trough the express entry for skilled worker is to have already secured a job offer which is almost impossible to do for those aged 50 and above. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No matter if you are 50 or 29.. No one is going to give LMIA (Arrange Employment) unless you have good links.
      Why would an employer will make efforts for anyone?

      Delete
    2. Regarding EE - they said good points and chance is to have an Job Offer, my nephew was in the Philippines and have job offer here in Canada but LMIA processing was to long process and very rare chance if the employer will approved even though they really need the foreign worker for that specific job.
      Hope the LMIA application for EE applicant will be faster and make it easy.

      Delete
    3. Helpful matter

      Delete
    4. Thanks for useful masseages

      Delete
  10. Hi David, thanks for the article! I did have one question: I have a CLB score of 9 (listening - 8.5, reading - 7.5, writing - 7.0, and speaking 9.0). I don't seem to have triggered the higher score as mentioned in this article however. Does this score always trigger, or would it be worth me taking the test again? Best regards, Ashley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wrote Celpip and I found it lot easier than Ielts. It increased my score dramatically. I will choose CELPIP any day.

      Delete
    2. Hi Esther!
      Can you elaborate on the CELPIP test and the way it increased your score, compared to the IELTS test? Thanks!

      Delete
    3. Hi Esther,

      Pls I would like to know more about the CELPIP. Is it taken in Lagos? How do I go about it?

      Delete
  11. I'm an engineer, I've been in Canada legally for 7 years and I'm still not qualified for Permanent Residency nor LMIA. I spend 4 years in this country to get my degree, then worked various part time jobs, and then finally landed an engineering job. I've been on this job for about a year now. My employer applied for LMIA but it was rejected. The immigration officer thinks the job can be done by Canadians and so I'm not needed. I spent 100k to get my degree. Worked my a** off. Now the immigration is telling me the only way to stay in Canada is to get more degrees to get more points? Immigration laws are changing like the weather. How am I suppose to trust the system? I'm done with this wasteland.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you have in total 2 years of Canadian experience and the positions were under NOC category then you can apply for a PR under express entry program.

      Delete
  12. Please do consider PTE pearson test education for english language eligibility requirement

    ReplyDelete
  13. Note to commenters:

    Please do not include personal information in your comments - they will not be approved.

    Thanks for your input and questions!

    Sincerely,
    WES Advisor

    ReplyDelete
  14. Obviously IELTS for general category intensely they give low band,while same candidate apply for study he /she get 6 and over band but general category they not award.And validity of IELTS is up to two year it is absolutely ridiculous.How it is possible if you know a language and after some time you forgot it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I fully agree with you.

      Delete
  15. Canadian government set up an instructions for ESDC officers to block every foreign person which is tryin` to obtain LMIA. Even if You are using immigration consultant or lawyer it is not sure that You will be necessary for Canada. Only the high wage positions have some chances. I am also tryin` to get positive LMIA, but as for now ESDC told to my future employer that LMIA application was incomplete. Officers are instructed to find any detail which is wrong in application to issue negative opinion or rejecting the application.

    ReplyDelete
  16. While IELTS exam is a good eligibility factor, IRCC should know that a Candidate whose lingua franca is English and who was taught in English from primary to graduate and PG levels should have obtained a language skill that is sufficient to immigrate. A situation where IELTS exam is now seen as a commercial venture rather than a test of language skill, should be checked! It has become a money spinning venture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said! No

      Delete
  17. May name is Eltahir Abass khdir i good draiver of Forkelft

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hello there im an international student who graduate with honors with a diploma. i have been working for more than two years. i have apply on the express entry and my score is 391. there is no way to improve my score and i cant get a sponsorship. i will be writing my cfq and that will only give 50 points. my post graduate work permit is coming to an end and still im waiting for the call. i have given up everything to come to Canada and just to be turn down. the express entry is unfair and unjustified to international students who spend lots of money to educate them self and with the hope to start their lives here. the system need to be revamp to give international students a better chance. nothing in ur news letter will work because with the points standing at 490 and the changes with the ielts or work experience will not make you cross the score. no company is willing to do the lmia report because it infringe on there right for privacy and and to publicly disclose all financial information including workers personal information. immigration need to look into this and as lawyers you all need to tell the truth and not give false hope to people. im looking forward in hearing from you on your point. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  19. My husband and I are looking to move to Canada from England where I was born do I have to take an English test?

    ReplyDelete
  20. IELTS exam is a business to gather more and more money.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hello All,

    I am done with my one year Canadian experience.

    I have a job offer letter saying permanent position, but not LMIA.

    I do not have a Provincial Nominee.

    I want to know if can apply for Express Entry under CEC?

    Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  22. It is hearing since long that Canada Immigration laws are going to change. Any idea when it is going to change and what would be the changes? Is there any chance to reduce the crs score?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Even getting a visitor's visa to Canada is difficult. I still wonder why the Embassy will denial visa based on travel history ie they expect you to have visited a country (not in Africa) before you can apply for visa. Why???

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi, can someone here kindly let me know if both the spouse can a different profile created? For example: now we have created one profile in which my husband is the primary applicant. Can we create another profile enrolling myself as primary applicant?
    Thanks in advance!

    ReplyDelete
  25. How to apply to emigrate to Canada?

    ReplyDelete
  26. After completion of my profile it was marked as ineligible although i have completed all the parameter of eligibility. Hopeless situation.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Very nice article, thanks for sharing detailed information which is very informative and key valued points have been discussed.
    I would really appreciate, if you further enlighten about ECA, here under my situation:

    I am thinking to apply for CIC EE. I am from Pakistan, but having PhD from Italy. Following details:

    - SSC + HSSC + BS (IT) + MS (IT) = From Pakistan
    - PhD (IT) = From Italy

    I would appreciate, if you enlighten me about below queries:

    - For ECA, Do I need to get ECA for only my final PhD degree (from Italy) or all the previous degrees (from Pakistan) as well?

    kindly advise me.

    I will firstly get ECA done, then will launch application on CIC under EE profile.


    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe you will need to get ECA for all your degrees starting from SSC all the way to your PhD. The WES ECA process requires you to provide all your Pakistani educational documents attested by HEC and for your PhD from Italy, you should check the process on WES website.

      Hope this helps.

      Delete
  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  29. The guys who are complaining against the CRS and Immigration System, kindly be at you own home country.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hello Sir
    I am a cabin crew with 7 years of flying experience. Along with my Garduation I have Diploma in Aviation Hospitality Travel and Tourism from Frankfinn Institute. I would like to migrate to canada. My Garduation is correspondence distance education. How can i apply for express entry visa? Or m i eligible for it.. plz guide...

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi there, is there an age limit to enter the Express Entry pool.

    Thanks in advance!

    ISA

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thanks for the insightful information David. I am working full time in Toronto in my post graduation work permit. My CRS score doesn't meet the historical 450 point threshold as the lowest cutoff. I know with 2 years of work experience my score will increase. But is there a way for me to get the PNP while working full time? I see that as my only chance to increase my score right away. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Thanks for your sharing revised CRS information. I have 10 years of experience in Financial Management and scored following marks in IELTS;
    Listening :5.5
    Reading :5.5
    Writing :6.0
    Speaking :6.5
    Overall :6.0

    Am I eligible for express entry?
    Thank you for your response.

    ReplyDelete

Comments posted on wesstudentadvisor.org may be moderated.

Like us on Facebook for exclusive content from U.S. Admissions Experts!