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The Process of Applying for a Canadian Spousal Open Work Permit

Robert Cannon



Open Work Permit

Canadians’ common-law partners and spouses can get an open work permit whilst the inland sponsorship application for permanent residence is in the process. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is looking forward to processing applications through the Spousal Sponsorship Program within 12 months.

The open work permit program allows foreign partners or spouses to work while awaiting the decision from IRCC. It helps to alleviate the economic and emotional struggle of a long application process by helping the spouse to earn and support the living in the new country economically convenient.

A Canadian open work permit is not employer or job-specific and it allows the permit holder to work for any Canadian employer, without having to get a confirmed offer of employment. The offered work permits are valid for two years or to the date of the candidate’s passport expiry date.

To get a spousal open work permit, follow the below criteria:

  • A permanent residence application should be submitted under the Spousal/Common-Law Partner Sponsorship Immigration Program
  • The applicant should be living at the same address as the sponsor (spouse/common-law partner)
  • The applicant must have valid temporary resident status (as a visitor, student, or worker)
  • The applicant and sponsor should meet all spousal or common-law partner sponsorship eligibility requirements
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One can also apply for a work permit and sponsorship together to save time. In case you have applied for sponsorship, you can easily apply for the work permit online after receiving the acknowledgment receipt from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

If the spouse or common-law partner does not own a valid status during the application process then, IRCC will proceed with the work permit application after the permanent residence application approval in principle.

Sean Fraser, Canada’s Immigration Minister had recently announced to resume Express Entry invitations to FSWP and CEC pathways in July 2022. The minister also announced that IRCC will be offering an open work permit extension of up to 18 months to Post-Graduation Work Permit holders (PGWP).



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