March 26, 2024

Navigating Canada Immigration as a Couple: A Step-by-Step Guide

Whether you're engaged, married, or in a common-law partnership, Canada offers various immigration programs designed for couples.

Express Entry:

Express Entry serves as the Canadian federal government's management system for three key immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

  1. Should you and your spouse seek Canadian permanent residency via Express Entry, you have two options:
  2. The primary applicant can include their spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner as a dependent.

Alternatively, the spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner can apply as a secondary applicant.

It's crucial to recognize that dependents can only be added to applications for the FSWP and the FSTP, as the CEC does not allow dependents.

When you include your spouse or partner as a dependent in your Express Entry application, you assume the role of the primary applicant and must provide evidence of adequate settlement funds. Fulfilling the proof of funds criteria is essential to showcase your ability to financially support yourself and your dependents upon moving to Canada.

It's crucial to understand that when your spouse or partner is categorized as a dependent in your application, their profile won't contribute to your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score calculation. The CRS score plays a vital role in ranking candidates based on factors like age, education, language skills, and work experience, determining who receives invitations for permanent residence in Express Entry draws.

If your spouse is eligible for Express Entry, they can choose to apply as a secondary applicant. In this case, both spouses create their own Express Entry profiles and include each other in their respective applications. This strategy enables you to gain an extra 40 Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points for your partner's profile when you submit your application.

Although proof of funds is still required, this approach differs as your partner is seen as a program contributor. Its effectiveness hinges on assessing which partner has the stronger profile, considering factors like language proficiency and education level. If your partner excels in CRS criteria, listing them as a secondary applicant can boost your overall CRS score. Conversely, if their score is lower, designating them as a dependent may be more strategic.

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) for Couples: Explained

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) offers couples a promising avenue for immigrating to Canada. Each province and territory manage its own PNP, aiming to draw skilled individuals who can enrich their respective communities.

When submitting your PNP application, it's advisable for the partner with the more robust qualifications in terms of work experience and education to be the primary candidate for immigration. If you possess stronger credentials, you will designate your spouse or partner as a dependent in the application.

Like in Express Entry, as the primary applicant, you must provide evidence of adequate funds to support yourselves in Canada.

Alternatively, if both you and your spouse meet the eligibility criteria, you can opt to submit separate applications to immigration programs. This strategy offers flexibility and allows for the optimization of both partners' qualifications throughout the immigration process.

Open Work Permit for Spouses:

Spouses and partners of Canadian citizens or permanent residents can apply for an open work permit while their sponsorship application for permanent residence is being processed.

This permit enables sponsored individuals to work for any employer in Canada, ensuring financial stability for themselves and their family during the immigration application process.

To qualify for an open work permit, the individual must:

  • Be the primary applicant who has filed a permanent residence application under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class, or be a spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner under the family class that has been accepted for processing by IRCC following a completeness check, and not refused or withdrawn.
  • Submit a work permit application with a requested duration of up to two years.
  • Be the focus of a sponsorship application lodged by their Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner.
  • Reside at the same address as their sponsor in Canada during the application period.
  • Possess a valid temporary resident status in Canada or be eligible for and have applied for the restoration of their status.
  • Both the applicant and the sponsor must satisfy all eligibility criteria under spousal or common-law partner sponsorship.

Spousal Sponsorship:

Spousal sponsorship stands out as a highly effective pathway for couples seeking to immigrate to Canada. This route is particularly advantageous if either you or your partner already resides in Canada as a citizen or permanent resident.

Should your spouse be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, they possess the opportunity to sponsor you for Canadian residency, granting you permanent resident status, contingent upon their fulfilment of specific eligibility criteria.

For a spouse or partner to qualify as a sponsor, they must fulfill the following criteria:

1. Age Requirement:

The sponsor must be a minimum of 18 years old.

2. Residency Status:

The sponsor must either be a Canadian permanent resident residing in Canada or a Canadian citizen.

3. Legal Status:

The sponsor must not be incarcerated, bankrupt, subject to a removal order (if a permanent resident) or facing serious criminal charges.

The sponsor cannot have been sponsored to Canada as a spouse within the past 5 years.

Alongside the sponsor's eligibility, both you and your sponsor must provide evidence of your relationship, falling into one of three categories:

a) Spouse:

You are legally married. If the marriage took place within Canada, a Certificate of Marriage from the respective province or territory is adequate to validate its legality. If the marriage occurred outside of Canada, it must be legally recognized in that country and comply with Canadian federal law requirements.

b) Common-law Partner:

Living together continuously for a minimum of one year qualifies you as common-law partners.

c) Conjugal Partner:

If exceptional circumstances, such as immigration barriers or legal restrictions, have prevented partners from qualifying as spouses or common-law partners, they may be considered conjugal partners.

The partners must have been in a mutually dependent relationship for at least one year, demonstrating a commitment level similar to that of a marriage or common-law partnership. This commitment can be evidenced through emotional ties, intimacy, financial closeness (such as joint ownership of assets), and efforts to spend time together and reunite.

Unlock Your Canadian Dream: A Guide for UAE Couples Seeking to Migrate to Canada

For couples in the UAE dreaming of starting a new life in Canada, these immigration programs offer promising avenues. Whether you're engaged, married, or in a common-law partnership, Canada provides tailored pathways to permanent residency. With options like spousal sponsorship, Express Entry, and the Provincial Nominee Program, couples can navigate the immigration process together, ensuring a smooth transition to their new home. Additionally, the opportunity for spouses to obtain an open work permit while their sponsorship application is being processed adds flexibility and financial stability to the journey.

Embark on Your Canadian Journey with Pelican Migration Consultants

Pelican Migration Consultants specializes in guiding couples through the intricacies of Canadian immigration pathways, including Express Entry, and Provincial Nominee Programs. Our experienced team ensures personalized assistance at every step, from assessing eligibility to compiling application documents and navigating legal requirements. With Pelican Migration Consultants by your side, you can confidently pursue your dream of starting a new life together in Canada.

If you're looking to immigrate with your partner, our team is here to assist you every step of the way! Contact us now to determine your eligibility for Canadian immigration and take advantage of our complimentary online assessment today!