CANADIAN BORDER: Coming to Canada With Your Family – We Answer 4 of the Most Common Questions

You have just gotten an offer to work at a Canadian company. You are excited and ready to start the process of being able to work in Canada. But then you think to yourself – “What about my family?”

For professionals who are going to be working in Canada for an extended period of time, bringing their family with them is important. The good news is that whether you have a spouse, common law partner, or dependent children, Canada’s immigration policy is based on a principal of family reunification. This means that, in most cases, you should be able to get your family the visas or permits they need to live and work in Canada while you are here as a foreign worker.

This article will answer four of the most common questions we hear from professionals who want to bring their family to Canada.

Can I Bring My Family to Canada if I am a Foreign Worker?

In most cases, yes! Canada’s immigration policy understands that a foreign worker will not want to be separated from their family for an extended period of time. This means that, unless there are other reasons they would be inadmissible, such as a criminal offense or previous incident at the border, your immediate family will be eligible to apply for their own work permit or temporary residence visa.

Generally speaking, these applications should be made at the same time as the principal applicant. This will make the application stronger and make it more likely that they are accepted.

Can My Family Work While In Canada?

In order to work, your family members will need to apply for a work permit of their own. They do not automatically receive one just because you are a foreign worker. If they are granted a work permit, they will be legally able to work in Canada.

In some cases, based on their skills and experience, family members may be eligible for an open work permit that allows them to work anywhere in Canada. This differs from the permit you likely received, which is tied to a specific company and requires a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This way, family members who do not have work lined up before arriving in Canada can still find a job while they are here. If they do not intend to work at all, they can instead apply for a temporary residence visa.

Family members who are students may not need to apply for a study permit, but they will have to apply for a work permit if they intend on working while at school. In all cases, be sure to understand what type of permit you have and what you are required to do before working in Canada.

What if We Want to Stay in Canada After My Work Permit Expires

If your work permit is expiring and you intend on staying in Canada you have a couple of options. The first is to simply get your work permit renewed with the company again. This can be the best option if both you and the company want to continue in the role you are in. However, it may be time consuming and may require you to go through the entire application process again, including receiving a positive LMIA.

Another option is to apply for permanent residency. This is the best option if you intend on staying in Canada for the long-term. Using Canada’s Express Entry system, you will be scored against other potential applicants based on factors such as your language proficiency, previous work experience, and education and credentials. The good news is that your experience working in Canada will count toward improving this score, and will make you more likely to receive an Invitation to Apply under the Canadian Experience Class.

Who Can Help Me if I Need More Information About Bringing My Family to Canada

Immigration is a complex and changing field that requires specific expertise, knowledge, and experience. If you are considering immigrating to Canada for work and want to bring your family, you should contact a licensed immigration lawyer who is experienced helping professionals arrive in Canada. They will be able to assist you with all of the paperwork and documentation required, ensure you do not leave out important information that could delay or disqualify your application, and answer any questions that are specific to you and your situation.

Start Your Next Opportunity in Canada With Your Family by Your Side

Moving to a new country for work is simultaneously exciting and intimidating. There are a lot of things that you need to do before you start working in Canada, and ensuring your family has the necessary visas or work permits is essential. Knowing you have an experienced immigration lawyer helping you navigate this process can help put some of the nerves at ease so that you can focus on preparing for your new opportunity.

 Hart Kaminker, is Principal, Kaminker & Associates Immigration Law in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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