Work permit or Visitor visa for a spouse of an international student

Jenny Rokhline
May 22, 2020
There is a reason why you hire an immigration lawyer - you plan to use their knowledge and expertise to succeed in your case. Often your lawyer knows better. Hear them out.

Oliver came to Canada as an international student. His plan was to get his higher education in Canada while his wife and their newborn twins remained in Oliver’s home country. When we helped Oliver with his study application we made sure to stress in the application that Oliver had strong family ties to his home country. Oliver’s study permit application was approved in record time. 

Oliver arrived in Canada and began his education. A few months later, however, Oliver started getting home sick: he was missing his wife and their children. He couldn’t concentrate on his studies, his grades started to slip and he was heading towards an “F” in one of his courses. Oliver reached out to us to see if he could bring his wife and the twins to Canada to stay with him during his studies. Since Oliver was an international student in Canada his wife had two visa options: she could apply for an Open Work Permit or for a Visitor Visa. Oliver wanted the family to come as tourists (visitor visa holders). We advised Oliver that his wife’s application as a temporary resident would be stronger if she applies for an Open Work Permit (as a spouse of an international student). In Oliver’s case it made more sense and we felt that we could put together a stronger argument for this permit. Oliver, however, did not want to wait for the processing of the work permit and insisted on applying for a visitor visa. We complied. The visitor visas for the whole family were refused within a week. This was a wake up call for Oliver and he instructed us to apply for an Open Work permit for his wife, and a visitor visa for his children. In the Open Work permit application we were able to emphasize the importance of family staying together, but also the fact that Oliver’s wife would get a useful work experience while in Canada. The rest of the supporting documents were the same as with their visitor application that was previously refused.

So what happened?

As expected, the Open Work Permit was granted without any hiccups. Oliver and his family have reunited in Canada in 3 months.

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