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How to Bring Your Family With You While Studying in Canada

Published on: November 22nd, 2016
Last updated: May 19th, 2022

There are a lot of great benefits to being an international student in Canada, including the ability to bring family with you while you study

Spouses, common-law partners and dependent children may also be eligible for a Canadian work permit or study permit.

Read on to learn more about bringing your family with you while you study in Canada.

Find out if you're eligible to come to Canada as a student

Even if you’re only intending to study in Canada for a couple of years before returning home, you might not want to leave your family behind. 

Immigration Canada recognizes how hard separation, even brief separation, can be for families. That’s why international students are eligible to bring their families with them when they come to Canada to study.

Can I bring my spouse or common-law partner to Canada while I study?

While here, your spouse or common-law partner would be eligible for an open work permit. While you’re studying, they can work full- or part-time for any employer in Canada without needing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

If you are granted a post-graduate work permit once you complete your studies, your spouse or partner is eligible to renew their open work permit for the duration of your post-graduate work permit. For your spouse to be eligible for an open work permit in this scenario, you must be working in an NOC skill level 0, A, or B at the time the application decision is made.

Can I bring my kids while studying in Canada?

Any parent applying to study in Canada is welcome to include dependent children on their study permit application. A dependent child, in Canadian terms, is any child under the age of 22, or over the age of 22 who has depended substantially on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22 and is unable to be financially self-supporting because of a mental or physical condition. If the study permit is approved with the accompanying child, then the child will be issued a visa authorizing their stay in Canada for the same duration as the parent’s permit.

Once inside Canada, all children 18 years and younger are allowed to study at Canadian elementary and secondary schools. The majority of Canada’s schools for children are public, meaning that there is no cost to attend. As well, Canada has a reputation as being a global leader in quality of education, so parents can rest assured knowing their children will be receiving the high-quality learning they deserve.

Canadian school system

All children in Canada are required, by law, to attend school. This includes the children of parents who are in the country temporarily to work or study themselves. Thankfully, due to Canada’s exceptional education system, children can benefit greatly from attending a Canadian institution.

The school system for children in Canada generally begins with elementary school and then progresses to high school (sometimes called secondary school). This system is composed of twelve grades, so a student begins with Grade One and spends one year completing each subsequent grade. Once a student completes Grade 12, they receive their high school diploma which makes them eligible to study at college or university.

Impacts on Study Permit Application

Depending on a person’s study permit application, including children and spouses may impact the immigration officer’s decision on whether to approve or reject the study permit. Depending on the circumstances, including family members on a study permit application may suggest that a person’s primary intention is not to study in Canada, which can be grounds for an application to be refused. If an applicant is worried about this outcome, they may apply to come to Canada independently and then later apply to bring their spouse and children to join them. If you are concerned about including your family members on your study permit application, you should consult with a legal representation.

Can I stay in Canada after studying as an international student?

Being an international student in Canada may increase your eligibility for permanent residency, or open the door to immigration programs that you weren’t previously eligible for.

Your experience studying, working, and practicing your English or French language proficiency can all contribute to your eligibility. Your partner’s experience working and improving their language proficiency can also contribute to your eligibility.

If you choose to immigrate to Canada permanently following the completion of your studies, you will likely do so through the federal Express Entry system. This system consolidates the three major categories of federal economic immigration and groups all eligible candidates into a pool together. Every candidate in the pool receives a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, and the highest-ranking candidates are periodically issued invitations to apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

Your CRS score is calculated differently depending on whether or not you are applying with an accompanying partner. If your partner has been living and working in Canada while you study, it’s possible that including them in your submission to Express Entry will increase your CRS score.

You can also double your chances of receiving an ITA if you and your spouse submit profiles to the Express Entry pool. Your partner’s experience may make them eligible to submit an expression of interest to Express Entry as a principal applicant.

 

Let us help you become an international student in Canada! Complete our free student assessment and an academic counsellor from our International Student Program will contact you to discuss your options.

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