Thousands of candidates have profiles in the Canada Express Entry Pool with Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores below 400. The most recent snapshot provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, dated October 11, 2019, reveals that of total pool size of 125,881 candidates, more than 71,000 scores between 301 and 400 CRS points. How can…

Thousands of candidates have profiles in the Canada Express Entry Pool with Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores below 400.

The most recent snapshot provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, dated October 11, 2019, reveals that of total pool size of 125,881 candidates, more than 71,000 scores between 301 and 400 CRS points. How can these candidates immigrate to Canada?

With Canada Express Entry now in its fifth year of selecting and inviting new economic immigration candidates, the draws so far in 2019 have a settled look. Minimum Comprehensive Ranking System scores of 450 or above have been recorded in 16 out of 19 draws, while the ITA numbers have peaked at 3,900.

For the 40,500 profiles in the pool with scores between 401 and 450, improving their CRS score by a few points could make all the difference. Improving language test results, boosting work experience or adding a spouse or common-law partner as a secondary applicant are all good ways to tip the balance.

But for those with scores below 400, just adding a few points to their score is not enough. What can these candidates do to receive the coveted Invitation to Apply?

Express Entry Job Offer

While the number of CRS points available for a job offer was reduced in changes made in November 2016, it remains the single most efficient way of quickly increasing a score.

When Express Entry was first launched, all job offers backed by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) were worth 600 CRS points. The changes saw the points available drop to 200 or 50, depending on the skill level of the job. Senior managerial positions (National Occupational Classification 00) became worth 200 points, while all other qualified job offers (NOC 0, A or B) are now worth 50 points.


The changes were made to weight the system more towards candidates with the core factors attributed to a candidate achieving long-term success in Canada. These include education, work experience and language ability. These are also factors that are difficult to quickly improve and therefore score more points for.

Obtaining a qualified job offer remains the fastest way to convert a failing Express Entry profile into a successful one. A profile scoring 400 points is likely never to receive an ITA. That same profile with a qualified job offer scores a minimum of 450 points, depending on the level of the job.

Provincial Nomination Programs

The Canadian government is placing increasing importance on provincial nomination programs to attract economic immigrants who meet specific provincial labour market needs.

The success of provincial programs – which allows Canada’s provinces and territories to manage their own immigration streams – means Ottawa will expand the PNP allocation by 33 percent between now and 2021.

This is good news for immigration candidates to Canada who does not meet the requirements of federal economic class programs. Expanded provincial thresholds mean more chances of securing a coveted provincial nomination worth 600 points and a guaranteed ITA under Express Entry.


Canada’s Provincial Nomination Programs

  • Ontario
  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland
  • Nova Scotia
  • Saskatchewan
  • Prince Edward Island

A qualified job offer backed by a provincial nomination is another fast and effective way to receive the extra points needed to qualify for Canadian permanent residence.

How We Can Help: Employers

If you are an employer looking to recruit foreign talent from, abroad, our representatives are here to help. We have recruitment expertise in many of the industries at the sharp end of Canada’s shrinking labour market. From long-haul truck drivers in the prairies, doctors in Nova Scotia and technology workers in British Columbia, we are ready to help with your search for the right staff to help your business grow.

About the author

Rashmi Lakkaraju

Rashmi is the founder and the lead practitioner at Cougar Immigration. She is a regulated and licensed member in good standing of the ICCRC (Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council). She is also an active member of the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC).