How The Changes To The Student Work Permit Affect The Spouses Of These Students

The changes to the graduate student work permit program are designed to make it easier for the student’s spouse to find work as well, and for the same period of time.

The spouse is given an open work permit for the same period of time that the graduate student’s permit is valid. This policy extends the time that the spouse can work in Canada.

The graduate spouse may have to move to follow his or her job, which may mean that the spouse has to leave a job that has supported them while the student was at school. The spouse needs an opportunity to find employment as well, and this new policy allows the spouses to work for the same period of time.

The non-graduate spouse may end up finding employment and, in his or her own right, could then put that experience towards the permanent residence process. I think this policy reflects the change in attitude on the part of the federal government in terms of selecting people. For a number of years they have tried to select people first on occupations, and then on points. Then they expanded it to a more flexible model; but when it takes five or six years for those applications to process, often people are no longer interested. Or they may come and go, depending on their work visa, or they find they have a difficult time adjusting to the environment in Canada. With this program, people come first as students and then move into the work force, and that is going to be a much better fit in terms of getting people who can more easily be part of Canadian society.

This is a good way to allow people to come from some countries where there may not be the educational opportunities that we can offer. In some countries there is limited access to higher learning, so a married couple can come to Canada, study here, and start the process of becoming a Canadian citizen. There is not much point in Canada taking their money for education, seeing them graduate, and then watching them go somewhere else to find work. It makes a lot of sense to have a policy in place that makes it easier for spouses to go to school, work, and stay in Canada.

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If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with immigration law issues in the Vancouver, British Columbia Region, contact Embarkation Law Group for a consultation.

This article is taken from a June 13, 2008 interview with Darryl W. Larson B.Comm., LL.B. an immigration lawyer with Embarkation Law Group, a Vancouver immigration Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.