International Students: Bring Your Loved Ones
Over 200,000 international students from all over the world come to Canada each year to obtain a high-quality post-secondary education. Canada’s generous immigration policy allows the spouse and minor children of international students to accompany them to Canada to work and study.
Spouse or Common-Law Partner
The spouse or common-law partner of an international student may apply for an open work permit. The student must be studying full-time at:
A public post-secondary institution; or
A private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public institution and receives half of its overall operations budget from government grants; or
A private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees.
An open work permit allows the holder to work for any employer in Canada, and does not require a Labour Market Opinion or job offer. The work permit will usually have the same period of validity as the study permit. However, the open work permit may exclude certain occupations in which the protection of public health is essential, unless the applicant undergoes an immigration medical examination.
In this way, not only can the spouses or partners of international students gain valuable Canadian work experience, but also can help support their families financially.
Minor children who are already in Canada with at least one parent who is allowed to work or study in Canada do not require a study permit to attend school at the pre-school, primary, or secondary levels. However, once the child reaches the age of majority in their province, he or she must apply for a study permit to continue their studies in Canada.
An international student may bring his or her dependents to Canada by one of two routes.
One possible route is for the student and dependent family members to submit their visa applications concurrently. Another option is for the student to wait until he/she has received a study permit, and then submit applications for his or her accompanying dependents.
A spouse or common-law partner who plans to work while in Canada has the option to apply for his or her Open Work Permit before entering the country, upon arrival to Canada, or after entering the country.