Canada Spousal Open Work Permit Eligibility Criteria Updated for 2024
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Immigration Announcement

Canada Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP) Eligibility Criteria Updated for 2024

Austin Campbell



Spousal Open Work Permit

The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced fresh eligibility criteria for the Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP), effective March 19, 2024, bringing new opportunities for international students’ spouses or partners.

Canada Spousal Open Work Permit New Requirements

In response to the evolving landscape of immigration policies, IRCC has introduced three distinct scenarios determining eligibility for the Online Canada Spousal Open Work Permit, catering to spouses or common-law partners of international students:

Applications Initiated on or After March 19, 2024

  • Spouses or common-law partners enrolled in professional degree programs or equivalent studies at accredited institutions are eligible for an open work permit.
  • Qualifying programs include master’s or doctorate programs, as well as specific professional degrees like Dental Surgery, Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, Optometry, Veterinary Medicine, Nursing, Education, and Engineering.
  • Documentation proving enrolment such as a letter of acceptance or verification, transcripts, and proof of relationship with the student must be provided.
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Applications Initiated Before March 19, 2024:

  • Spouses or common-law partners who previously applied for an open work permit may be eligible if the international student meets specific requirements:
  • Holds a valid study permit.
  • Enrolled in a program eligible for a post-graduation work permit – PGWP
  • Attends a recognized educational institution full-time.

Eligibility criteria remain consistent with the second scenario for spouses or common-law partners seeking an extension of their existing Canada open work permit.

Duration and Benefits

The validity of the Canada spousal open work permit typically aligns with the duration of the student’s study permit, offering spouses or common-law partners the flexibility to work for any employer in Canada without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or a job offer.

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The new eligibility criteria for the Canada Spousal Open Work Permit present a significant opportunity for spouses or common-law partners of international students, offering them enhanced accessibility to the Canadian workforce and fostering family reunification.

As these changes come into effect, individuals are encouraged to explore the updated requirements and take advantage of this valuable pathway to employment in Canada. By staying informed and proactive, spouses and partners can navigate Canada’s immigration process with confidence, paving the way for a fulfilling and prosperous experience in Canada.


Stay tuned for more updates and insights on immigration policies and opportunities with Canada Immigration News.

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