Spousal Sponsorship Open Work Permit

Inland Spousal sponsorship - spousal open work permit

Canada's Spousal Open Work Permit Pilot Program (OWPP) was initiated on December 22, 2014, by the Government of Canada as part of its core immigration priority for family reunification. This program gives spouses or common-law partners the opportunity to continue to work in Canada while waiting for their spousal sponsorship applications to be finalized. This pilot program allows applicants to apply for an Open Work Permit with or any time after they apply for permanent residence in the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada (SCLPC) class. Sponsored individuals can work for any employer of their choice in Canada so they can financially support themselves and their family during the immigration application process.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aims to process applications submitted through the Spousal Sponsorship program within 12 months. The Open Work Permit Program can help to mitigate the economic and emotional hardships of a long application process by removing the need for a spouse to choose between being with his or her partner and being able to work.

An open work permit is neither employer nor job-specific and it allows the holder to work for almost any Canadian employer, without first having to obtain a confirmed offer of employment. These work permits are typically valid for two years or to the date of the applicant’s passport expiry date, whichever comes first.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for an Open Work Permit under the pilot program:

  • You must be living in Canada.
  • You must be sponsored under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada (SCLPC) Class
  • You must have a valid temporary resident status such as a visitor, student, or worker.
  • You must live at the same address as your sponsor.

New spousal or partner Work Permit applications can be submitted with your sponsorship application, and:

  • may be submitted with an application for permanent residence.
  • include the appropriate fees.
  • be sent by mail or courier.

Can a spouse open work permit be extended?

A SOWP is tied to the permit of the spouse, or ‘lead applicant’, and will only be valid for as long as the lead applicant’s permit. If your SOWP expires, you will need to reapply based on your spouse’s permit.


How to apply for a spouse open work permit

The spouse open work permit application procedure will differ depending on which type of spouse open work permit you need. The first step is determining which work permit is best for you. If you need help figuring out the application, simply contact us and a member of our team will assist you with scheduling a consultation.

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