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How to maximize your Express Entry CRS score if you’re aged 30 or over

Immigration through Express Entry CRS scores takes into account applicants’ ages, and some are penalized for this. Here are a few tactics one can use if they want to increase their Express Entry CRS score as a candidate over 30.

Express Entry is Canada’s largest source of immigration.

When applicants apply to immigrate to this country through Express Entry, eligible Express Entry applicants are scored through a point-allocation grid called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

Introduction to Express Entry and the CRS

The CRS is a points grid used by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to rank Canadian immigration applicants who apply through any of the three Express Entry system application management systems — the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

The CRS begins by evaluating what the Canadian government calls “core human capital factors,” which include age, education, first language ability (English or French), second language ability (English or French), and Canadian work experience.

For these purposes, we will be focusing on the first item in the above list, age.

The CRS system in Canada awards the most age points to Express Entry applicants aged 20-29. (100). If you are 30 or older, your age category points will decrease progressively each year (95 points for an applicant aged 30, 90 points for a 31-year-old applicant and so forth). Under the CRS, applicants aged 45 and up receive 0 points in the age category.

Fortunately, simply being 30 or older does not mean an applicant’s Express Entry hopes are over. If they apply at or after the age of 30, prospective Express Entry applicants can maximize their CRS score in a variety of ways.

Getting a provincial nomination through a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Receiving a nomination through any of Canada’s enhanced Provincial Nominee Program streams that are linked to Express Entry is one way for applicants to boost their CRS score. In fact, receiving a provincial nomination through a PNP is the single best way to maximize a CRS score and receive an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence because receiving a nomination prior to applying through Express Entry can earn an applicant an additional 600 points.

PNPs are available in all Canadian provinces and territories (except Quebec and Nunavut) as a tool for each region to nominate permanent residence candidates who want to settle in a specific area of Canada.

Designed to spread the benefits of immigration across Canada, particularly since Canadian immigration has historically been disproportionately concentrated in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec, there are currently over 80 country-wide PNP streams available for prospective Canadian immigrants across Canada’s 11 PNPs.

If an Express Entry candidate applies to a PNP and is invited to apply, then applies and receives a provincial nominee certificate, they can upload their certificate to their Express Entry profile and receive the 600 available CRS points. Again, they will almost certainly receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence in Canada as a result of this.

Getting a Job offer

Another way for an applicant to improve their CRS score is to apply through Express Entry while holding a valid job offer in writing that details all job requirements, such as pay, duties, and employment conditions. In fact, this strategy is one of the most effective ways to improve an applicant’s CRS score because candidates with a valid offer of employment can earn either 50 or 200 additional CRS points depending on the position.

Work experience evaluation

Work experience can help an applicant’s CRS score in a variety of ways. To begin, simply gaining additional work experience can help an applicant improve their score. Furthermore, doing a better job of articulating current work experience can help applicants in many ways.

Language proficiency enhancement

Language ability is another critical component of CRS scores that falls under the category of “core human capital factors.” As previously stated, language is divided into two categories: first language ability and second language ability, which are used to assess an applicant’s proficiency in English and French. This component of an applicant’s CRS score can add up to a significant number of points, making it an essential part of any Express Entry application.

Language proficiency, which is broken down into writing, reading, speaking, and listening, can earn a single applicant between 128 and 136 points (depending on spousal/partner status, but more on that later).

Furthermore, because of its ability to count for points across multiple sections, the language category is useful for increasing CRS scores. Language, as an individual element of the CRS, can count for points in four larger categories: human capital factors, spousal factors (if applicable), skills transferability, and “additional factors.”

Furthermore, language can be combined with other factors such as education to improve an applicant’s CRS score even further.

Making the Most of Your First Week Studying Abroad

Starting your studies in a new country can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! We’ve compiled a list of general to-dos to help you make the most of your first week studying abroad on campus. Continue reading to learn more about how to best prepare yourself for a successful start to your new academic life!

Prepare for Your Courses

To ensure your priorities are in order, it’s a good idea to use the first few weeks studying abroad to prepare for your courses by:

  • Making any outstanding payments
  • Purchasing textbooks and course materials
  • Reading over your course syllabuses

This allows you to get a head start on your classes while also leaving some room in case you have any questions for your professor or need more time to find textbooks. Above all, it ensures that you are fully enrolled in all of your courses.

Get to Know People

Your first few weeks are an excellent opportunity to meet other students in a similar situation! You’ll be surprised how many similarities you have with other students, and you’ll enjoy their company. Here are some great ways to meet new people:

  • Participate in clubs and societies.
  • Make study groups with your classmates.
  • Take on a part-time job on campus.
  • Participate in orientation events.

Cozy Up Your Living Space

Personal touches are required to transform a house (or sometimes a dorm room!) into a true home. It can be unsettling to live in a foreign country, but incorporating touches of your personality and pieces from your home country into your space can make you feel a lot more at ease. Make your living space a place where you feel comfortable and happy, with areas for studying and relaxing. Some useful hints are as follows:

Display photos of loved ones on your walls or on your desk.
Have one or more light sources available (especially in countries like Canada, where the winter season is dark)
Display a memento from your home country.

Explore Your Campus

Visit new areas on campus to get to know what your campus has to offer—you might find your favorite study spot or a cozy campus cafe for your coffee breaks! While you’re exploring, it’s also a good idea to take advantage of any student benefits you may have. Many academic institutions, for example, provide students with a health and dental plan (along with insurance) or a discount on certain campus facilities and restaurants, such as gyms and restaurants. Some off-campus establishments, such as grocery stores, may also provide student discounts.

With these pointers in mind, you’ll be well on your way to making the most of your first week abroad. At the end of the day, it’s critical to remember to have fun and not put too much pressure on yourself. Everyone’s study abroad experience is unique and special in its own right.

Canada Lifts Limits on Hours per Week International Students Can Work

Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser debuted a new policy in Canada that will impact foreign students studying on October 7, 2022. International students with off-campus work authorization on their study permit will be permitted to work off-campus for more than 20 hours per week while enrolled in classes beginning on November 15, 2022, and for the duration of 2023.

This is fantastic news for the many international students studying in Canada who depend on part-time work to pay their tuition, cover their living expenses, and gain valuable work experience.

The 20 Hour Weekly Limit, Lifted

In Canada, international students are typically only allowed to work 20 hours a week off-campus during the regular academic semesters.

This cap is typically imposed to motivate students to concentrate on their studies. But not every student, every course, or every circumstance is the same. Many students discover that they have extra capacity or that the workload of their current courses gives them the freedom to work longer hours at their off-campus jobs. They have the freedom to do so thanks to this new policy in Canada.

The more than 500,000 foreign students who are currently enrolled in academic programs in Canada as well as those who have already submitted applications for study permits and are about to start their studies there will be subject to the new policy in Canada.

As an international student in Canada, you can work more weekly hours off-campus between November 15, 2022 and December 21, 2023 as long as you meet these requirements: 

  • You’re a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI)
    • Or you’re a former full-time student, now part-time student, in your final semester of study completing your program
  • You’re enrolled in a qualifying post-secondary program of study that is at least 6 months long 
  • Your program leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate
  • You’ve begun your studies 
  • You have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) 
  • You have off-campus work authorization on your study permit

Benefits for International Students

In addition to helping Canada’s current labour shortages, this measure also provides a lot of important benefits for international students:

  • Students can earn more weekly income, helping them pay for tuition, living expenses, and other fees
  • This gives students new opportunities to gain work experience in their field, preparing them for career success later (whether in their home country or in Canada itself) 
  • The opportunity to gain more experience now gives students a better chance of working in Canada full-time later, with a Post-Graduate Work Permit 
  • Working allows students to network and develop key relationships, opening new doors to career success later on

Get Admitted in McGill University

The Most Popular Canadian Colleges and Universities for International Students

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada remains a popular destination for international students in Canadian Colleges and Universities. In 2020, we examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadian postsecondary education. Now, with full-year data for 2021, we’ll look at how Canada’s post-secondary institutions have recovered post-pandemic. We’ll look at which Canadian colleges and universities attracted the most international students in 2021, and how that compares to 2020.

Canadian Post-Secondary Study Permit Trends 2019 to 2021

The total number of new study permits issued to post-secondary students increased from just over 64,000 in 2020, to more than 300,000 in 2021. This means that there was an increase of nearly 375% in 2021, showing a strong recovery after the drop in the total number of study permits issued in 2020. In comparison, there were around 211,000 study permits issued in 2019.

Most Popular Canadian Colleges for International Students in 2021

In 2021, the total number of new study permits issued for the ten most popular Canadian Colleges and Universities increased by nearly 62,000 over 2020 and by more than 29,000 over 2019. This amounted to nearly 400% more research permits in 2021 than in 2020, and 60% more than in 2019. Here’s a closer look at the top five colleges:

Conestoga College

This Kitchener, Ontario-based college, which was previously ranked third on the 2020 version of this list, has seen incredible growth in its international student population. Conestoga College students received 72% more study permits from 2019 to 2021, and nearly 350% more from 2017 to 2021.

Seneca College

Seneca College, which has campuses throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), has attracted over 29,000 students since 2016. Seneca, which was ranked fourth on this list in 2020, saw nearly 590% growth from 2020 to 2021, making it Canada’s number two college in terms of new study permits issued.

Lambton College

Lambton College, located in Sarnia, Ontario, has consistently ranked among the top ten colleges for international students over the last five years. The number of new study permits issued to Lambton students decreased by only 55% between 2019 and 2020, but increased by 59% between 2017 and 2021.

Centennial College

Centennial College, located in Toronto, jumped into the top five colleges with an incredible post-pandemic recovery. Centennial issued nearly 6,400 new study permits in 2019, which fell to just under 1,400 in 2020. More than 7,200 new study permits will be issued to Centennial College students in 2021.

St. Clair College College

St. Clair College, like Centennial, has experienced rapid growth in enrollment. In 2021, St. Clair saw a nearly 5,900 new study permit increase, resulting in a 40% increase in numbers and a total of more than 7,100 new study permits issued. From 2017 to 2021, this represented a 170% increase.

Loyalist College

Loyalist College in Toronto is another top-ten post-secondary institution worth mentioning. Students at Loyalist College in Toronto received 3,914 study permits in 2021, up from 42 in 2020. This amounted to a 125-fold increase in study permits issued in 2021 compared to 2020. In its second year, Loyalist ranked tenth among all Ontario colleges in international enrollment in 2021.

Most Popular Canadian Universities for International Students in 2021

University of Toronto

The University of Toronto (U of T), located in downtown Toronto, is the most popular Canadian university for international students. In 2020, the University of Toronto saw a 74% decrease in new study permits issued compared to 2019. When compared to 2020, the number of new study permits issued to U of T students in 2021 increased by nearly 800%, with just over 9,500 more study permits issued in 2021 than in 2020.

University of British Columbia

The University of Toronto (U of T), located in downtown Toronto, is the most popular Canadian university for international students. In 2020, the University of Toronto saw a 74% decrease in new study permits issued compared to 2019. When compared to 2020, the number of new study permits issued to U of T students in 2021 increased by nearly 800%, with just over 9,500 more study permits issued in 2021 than in 2020.

University Canada West

University Canada West (UCW) remained in the top five and is Canada’s most popular university for international students. In 2021, the number of new study permits issued to UCW students was more than four times that of 2019. This was a strong rebound following a 52% drop from 2019 to 2020.

Concordia University

Concordia University, previously ranked as the tenth most popular Canadian university for international students, has risen to the top five this year. From 2019 to 2021, Concordia saw a 62% increase in new study permits issued, and a 650% increase from 2020 to 2021.

McGill University

McGill University, like UBC, was a model of student stability prior to the pandemic. After a 78% drop in new study permits in 2020, McGill saw a strong rebound in 2021. Since 2020, McGill has seen an impressive increase of nearly five times more study permits than in 2019, amounting to a nearly 450% growth rate.

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