Canada Introduces New Measures for Family Reunification Amid UK’s Restrictions on Int’l Students

Amid UK’s decision to ban international students from bringing their family members with them to the UK, Canada has announced new measures that make it easier for families to reunite and support themselves while in the country.

The announced measures include:

  • faster processing times for temporary resident visas (TRV) for spousal applicants
  • new processing tools for spousal TRV applicants
  • a new open work permit for spousal and family class applicants
  • extensions for open work permits expiring between August 1 and the end of this year

According to a press release by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), 93 percent of applications have been approved using these new tools, reports.

Starting June 7, individuals can extend their open work permits that expire between August 1 and the end of 2023, for 18 months, using a facilitated process that includes the spouses and dependents of international students in Canada.

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser said that reunifying families is a matter of compassion and a key pillar of Canadian society. He said that most applications will be processed within a period of 30 days.

“We are supporting Canadians and newcomers by reuniting families faster, and also allowing them to work and support themselves more quickly once they’re here. By doing so, Canada is helping newcomers achieve their true potential, while also strengthening Canada’s economy and social fabric,” Minister Fraser said.

Under the new rules, spouses, partners, and dependents are eligible to apply for an open work permit once they submit their complete applications for a permanent residence permit under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (SPCLC) or other programs concerning the family class.

“Once in Canada, newcomers often seek jobs to support themselves and their families. That is why Canada has also made open work permits available for spousal applicants and their dependent children who reside with their sponsor in Canada and have temporary resident status,” the IRCC statement reads.

At the end of last month, the UK Department of Education, the Treasury, and the Home Office decided to ban most international students from bringing their dependents with them after January 2024 as part of the government’s efforts to curb net migration.

These measures introduced by home secretary Suella Braverman will not apply to postgraduate research students.

The move faced disapproval from some Members of Parliament, including Conservative MP Kit Malthouse, who said including international students in net migration figures is mad, and the Scottish National Party politician Carol Monaghan insisted such a ban will financially harm universities.