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How to work in Canada with a spousal open work permit


Applicants for inland spousal sponsorship are permitted to work in Canada while their petitions for permanent residence are being reviewed. Discover how below.


In order to keep families together in Canada, which places a strong focus on family-class immigration, spousal sponsorship is a crucial part of the program.

Spousal sponsorship, a more general category, is divided into two related but still separate sub-sections: inland spousal sponsorship and outland spousal sponsorship.


Recognizing the various spousal sponsorship options


At this time, we won’t get into the specifics of either subheading, but it’s vital to note two essential distinctions between inland and outland sponsorship.

The following is the main distinction between different types of spousal sponsorship.

In contrast to inland sponsorship, which requires that the sponsor and the foreign national being sponsored already reside together in this nation, outland sponsorship enables a Canadian to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner who is currently living abroad for permanent residence (PR) in Canada.

However, there is still a crucial distinction that must be noted for our purposes.

Inland spousal sponsorship offers the foreign national being sponsored the chance to get an open work permit while their application for PR in Canada is being handled, in contrast to the outland sponsorship stream. This is known as a Spousal Open Work Permit.


Spousal Open Work Permit, what is it?


The average processing time for spousal sponsorship requests by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is close to a year.

In light of this, sponsored spouses and common-law partners who are residing with their Canadian partner are permitted to work with any Canadian employer of their choice while a decision is being made on their PR application thanks to spousal open work permits.

The spousal open work permit was designed to lessen the financial and emotional burden that may come from a protracted and difficult application process. It allows the sponsored person in the relationship to make money without being bound to a particular employer or job, unlike some of Canada’s other work permit options.

Under this scheme, open work permits can be obtained without having an accepted job offer in place, and they are good for two years or until the passport holder’s expiration date, whichever comes first.


Criteria to obtain a spousal open work permit


In order to qualify for the spousal open work permit, you must:

  • Through the inland sponsorship stream of the Spousal/Common-Law Partner Sponsorship Immigration Program, foreign national and Canadian sponsors who are married or in a common-law relationship submit an application for permanent residence.

  • The foreign individual who is applying for a work visa in Canada has a legitimate temporary resident status as either a visitor, student, or employee.

  • Both the Canadian sponsor and the foreign applicant are eligible to participate in the program through their spouses or common-law partners.


The procedure for getting spousal open work permits


In order to apply for a work permit under the Spousal Open Work Permit category, applicants must first wait for an acknowledgment of receipt letter from IRCC about their sponsorship application.

Foreign nationals can submit an online application for a spousal open work permit after receiving that letter.

The following steps are involved in applying for this work permit.

1. Open an online account with the IRCC or sign in.

2. Fill Out the Online Form to Get a Customized Document Checklist

3. Fill out the online application form

When asked “What Type of Work Permit Are You Applying For?” choose “Open Work Permit.”

In the “Job Title” Box, choose “SCLPC OWP.”

In the “Brief Description of Duties” box, choose “Spouse and Common-Law Partner in Canada Pilot Program.”

4. Upload the documents

5. Submit your application.


Obtaining help with a spousal open work permit


It can be challenging to navigate the world of work permits. Although a lawyer with experience in immigration law is not required to submit a work permit application, they can assist applicants by:

assisting with application preparation

Making sure applicants don’t make mistakes

Responding to the Canadian government on behalf of an application

Utilizing their knowledge to cut down on unnecessary hold-ups during the various application phases and application processing.

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