DO I GET MORE POINTS IF I INCLUDE MY SPOUSE?
One of the most popular immigration programs for Canada is the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program. Managed by the Express Entry system, FSW allows foreign nationals with skilled work experience to become Canadian permanent residents. This program does not require an applicant to have any Canadian experience or job offer in order to apply, so it is highly popular among foreign nationals living outside of Canada. You can apply to Express Entry with or without your spouse, but which is better?
Anyone familiar with the Express Entry system knows that its programs use a points-based ranking system to rank candidates against one another. This is called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and it uses a range of factors to assign all candidates a CRS score out of 1200 points. Approximately every two weeks, the Canadian government conducts an Express Entry draw where they invite the candidates with the highest CRS scores to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
Many of our clients want to know how to improve their CRS score so that they are selected for Canadian permanent residence. One of the most common questions we receive is “Will I get more points if I include (or don’t include) my spouse on my Express Entry profile?” Thankfully, we are here to help you understand how your spouse will affect your CRS score!
HOW DOES INCLUDING YOUR SPOUSE AFFECT YOUR CRS SCORE?
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score is a complex score out of 1200 points. The CRS awards points for various factors including age, language proficiency, level of education, etc. So will a person receive more points if they include their spouse on the Express Entry profile?
The short answer: it depends on your spouse’s qualifications.
If a person applies with their spouse, the spouse can receive up to 40 points for their skills. However, if a person applies without their spouse, these 40 points do not simply disappear. Instead, the principal applicant can claim more points for some of their own factors.
CRS FACTORS FOR YOUR SPOUSE
Your spouse can obtain up to 40 points to contribute to your CRS score. Here are the three areas where a spousal applicant can gain points:
Language Proficiency – 20 points maximum
Your spouse can obtain up to 20 points for language proficiency in either English or French. In order to do so, they’ll need to have taken an approved language test within the last two years. If your spouse scores the equivalent of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) Level 9, then your spouse will receive the maximum number of points!
For Express Entry, the following three tests are accepted:
- English: International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
- English: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP)
- French: Test devaluations de François (TEF)
- Level of Education – 10 points maximum
Your spouse can obtain up to 10 points for their level of education. In order to do this, they’ll need to obtain an Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA), which is a document stating the value of their foreign education in Canada. Education equivalent to a Canadian Master’s degree or higher will earn your spouse the maximum number of points.
Canadian Work Experience – 10 points maximum
If your spouse has completed skilled work experience in Canada, they may be eligible to claim points under this category.
If your spouse will be able to obtain high points on these factors, it might be wise to include them on your Express Entry profile. However, there are a few other things to consider beforehand.
OTHER IMPORTANT FACTORS TO CONSIDER!
When completing your Express Entry profile, you must indicate whether your spouse is accompanying or not accompanying you to Canada. If you indicate that your spouse is not accompanying you, then your CRS score will be calculated as though you are a single applicant. However, there are a few other important factors to be aware of.
Who is the best principal applicant?
If your spouse has significantly stronger credentials than you, it may make sense to create an Express Entry profile with your spouse as the principal applicant. If you and your spouse are both strong applicants, you may want to double your chances of success by each submitting a separate Express Entry profile.
Proof of Funds
Most Express Entry applicants must show that they have adequate funds to support themselves when they land in Canada. Applicants must calculate this amount based on their family size including themselves, spouse, and dependent children. Your family size includes all family members, regardless of whether or not they are accompanying you on your application.
If your spouse is indicated as not accompanying on your Express Entry profile and your application is successful, then your spouse will not receive Canadian permanent residency. Instead, if your spouse eventually wants to become a Canadian permanent resident, at a later date you can apply to sponsor them through the Spousal Sponsorship program. Applicants who choose to indicate their spouse as not accompanying on the Express Entry profile should be aware of this additional application should they choose to sponsor their spouse in the future.