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The Express Entry Pool: Strategy for Candidates with CRS Scores Below 400



Express Entry Pool

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is a crucial component of Canada’s Express Entry system, determining a candidate’s eligibility for immigration based on various factors such as age, education, work experience, language proficiency, and more. But what if your CRS score falls below 400? Is it still worth entering the Express Entry pool? Let’s delve into this question and explore the options available for candidates in this situation.

CRS Score in Express Entry

While it’s true that candidates with CRS scores below 400 face a more challenging path to receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residency, it’s not impossible. Recent data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reveals that a significant portion of candidates in the Express Entry pool fall within this score range.

As of March 11, 2024, out of a total pool size of 211,220 candidates, a substantial 83,635 individuals scored between 301 and 400 CRS points. This highlights the considerable presence of candidates with scores below 400 in the pool.

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The Express Entry Draws: What You Need to Know

Express Entry draws in 2024 have exhibited a consistent trend of higher CRS score requirements, with minimum scores of 450 or above recorded in six out of 11 draws. However, this does not mean that candidates with lower scores are entirely overlooked.


Category-based draws introduced by IRCC target candidates with specific skills or features, offering opportunities for those with CRS scores below 400. For instance, draws focusing on French-language proficiency have seen ITAs issued with CRS scores as low as 336. Similarly, draws targeting other categories such as healthcare occupations, STEM occupations, and trades occupations have witnessed relatively lower CRS requirements.

Strategies for Candidates with a CRS score less than 400

For candidates with CRS scores below 400, there are several strategies to improve their chances of receiving an ITA:

  1. Language Skills: Enhancing language proficiency can significantly boost CRS scores. Candidates can take language tests such as IELTS, CELPIP, or TEF Canada to demonstrate their language abilities.
  2. Job Offer: Securing a job offer from a Canadian employer can enhance CRS scores and increase chances of receiving an ITA. Actively engaging in a job search linked to visiting Canada can facilitate this process.
  3. Education: Pursuing higher education or obtaining Canadian credentials can earn additional CRS points. International students completing degrees or diplomas in Canada are awarded extra points under Express Entry.
  4. Age: Applying at a younger age can maximize CRS scores, as points diminish with age. Candidates entering the pool between 20 and 29 receive the highest age-related points.
  5. Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs): PNPs offer a pathway to Canadian permanent residency for candidates who meet specific provincial labor market needs. Candidates with a provincial nomination automatically receive 600 CRS points, significantly enhancing their profile. Some of the best Canada PNPs are:

Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, and more

  1. Hiring an Employment Professional: Seeking guidance from an employment professional can provide valuable insights and assistance in improving digital resumes, accessing job opportunities, and maximizing chances of success.

While entering the Express Entry pool with a CRS score below 400 presents its challenges, it’s essential to recognize the multitude of immigration pathways available for candidates to enhance their profiles and increase their chances of receiving an ITA. By strategically leveraging language skills, education, job offers, and other factors, candidates can navigate the Express Entry system with confidence and pursue their dream of immigrating to Canada.

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295 (French Lang.)1400410
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