Express Entry: Do I get more points if I include my spouse?
The Express Entry system manages three main programs and one of the most common ones is the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program. Through this program, immigrants with some skilled work experience can apply for permanent residence without any Canadian experience or job offer. It’s a very popular system and one of the largest sources of economic immigrants in Canada. One of the questions we get asked a lot is whether you can apply with/without your spouse and if it will affect your chances of getting an ITA.
The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS)
For you to understand what will eventually determine the strength of your application, you need to understand how the CRS system works. It uses several factors to rank candidates and award them a score out of a possible 1200 points. When the immigration officials conduct a draw to select candidates from the pool who have submitted their profile, which is usually done approximately every two weeks, they consider those who have top CRS scores and give them ITAs.
How to improve CRS score
As you can tell by now, improving your CRS score is one sure way of getting invited to apply for permanent residence under the economic programs. But will you get more points if you add your spouse in the profile, whether as accompanying or non-accompanying?
It will depend on how strong your spouse’s qualifications are.
When you apply together with your spouse, he/she can receive a maximum of 40 points for their skills. If you apply as the principal applicant and leave out your spouse in the application, you can still earn the 40 points for some of your other factors. For instance, you can only get a maximum of 100 points for age when you apply with your spouse or partner but you have up to 110 points if you apply without him/her.
3 areas for spousal applicants to gain points
Language proficiency: When you apply with your spouse, they can obtain a maximum of 20 points for language proficiency. They need to take an approved language test and score an equivalent of CLB Level 9 in order to receive the maximum 20 points.
Level of education: Your spouse can earn a maximum of 10 points for their level of education. They need to obtain an ECA which simply evaluates their foreign education and determines its value in Canada. They can only get a maximum number of points if their level of education is equivalent to a Canadian Master’s degree or higher.
Canadian work experience: Has your spouse been engaged in any skilled work in Canada? If this is the case, he/she may be eligible to earn a maximum of 10 points.
There are many other small details that you must consider when completing your profile, which is why you need to work with an immigration lawyer Canada to assist. For instance, if you include a spouse as not accompanying then your score is going to be calculated as a single applicant. A lawyer will help you understand your options and advice on ways to ensure you get the highest score.