Express Entry For Couples / What partnered immigration candidates should know about Canada’s Express Entry system.
If you are applying for immigration through the Express Entry system with your spouse, you are going to be scored differently from single applicants.
Canada’s three leading federal economic immigration programs are the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and Canadian Experience Class (CEC). Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses a tool called Express Entry to manage applications for these programs.
Express Entry uses a points-based ranking tool called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS evaluates candidates on various factors, which IRCC views as demonstrating a candidate’s ability to succeed in Canada. These elements include factors such as education, language ability, and Canadian work experience, among others.
A candidate is subject to the CRS whether or not they are single or coupled. However, the way they are scored changes somewhat depending on their status. A coupled person can receive less base points than a single person, but can also gain points from their partner.
For the purposes of CRS, an individual is coupled if they are either formally married to someone else, or in a common-law union with someone else, meaning they have lived in a relationship with the same person for at least a year
Every application through Express Entry involves a Principal Applicant (PA). The PA is the basis for the immigration and application. It is the PA whom the CRS evaluates and assigns a score. However, the PA can include a spouse and dependent children with the application.
When applying as a couple, only one partner can be the PA. The couple can choose which partner is the PA as long as both partners qualify for at least one Express Entry program. This rule is important because it is extremely unlikely that both partners will have the same exact CRS score. One partner will almost certainly have a CRS score higher than the other, and that person would be better suited as the PA.
Another important thing to understand is that the scoring system for single PAs and partnered PAs is somewhat different. To account for the partner, the CRS reduces the number of points the PA can get for various factors by a total of 40 points. To make up for that, the CRS also allows the PA to earn up to 40 points through their partner’s profile.
Express Entry For Couples
The nitty gritty of the CRS
There are four components to a CRS score. Only the first two vary based on whether one is coupled or not. If a person is coupled, they can claim less points than a single person. However, they are eligible to gain points through their partner. A single person by definition cannot claim points through spousal/partner factors.
1) Core/Human Capital Factors: Things like age, language, and education. The maximum score for category A is 460 points for someone in a couple, but 500 points for a single person.
2) Spouse/Partner Factors: Assesses the spouse or partner’s language, educational, and work experience points. It is only applicable to a person who has a spouse. The maximum score for this category is 40 points.
3) Skill Transferability: Factor combinations that are highly valued. For example, having both Canadian work experience and a post-secondary credential. The maximum score for this category is 100 points.
4) Additional Points: Other things that gain a candidate points, such as having a provincial nomination from an enhanced Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or having received post-secondary education in Canada. The maximum score for this category is 600 points.
The total maximum CRS score a person, either single or coupled, can obtain is 1200 points. As long as each member of the couple meets eligibility requirements for a given program, the couple can decide who will be the principal applicant to maximize the potential score.
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