Inland Spousal Sponsorship: Canada Offers Open Work Permits To Spouses Awaiting Immigration To Canada

CIC News
Published: December 31, 2014

The government of Canada has launched a pilot program issuing open work permits to certain spouses and common-law partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents in the Spouses or Common-Law Partners in Canada class (SCLPC). Applicants making an Inland application (i.e. while residing in Canada) for permanent immigration to Canada may now be issued open work permits before the ‘approval in principle’ decision has been made on their application.

For potential applicants residing in Canada and debating whether to make an Inland application or Outland application (i.e. where the application is processed through the visa office that serves the applicant’s country of origin), this pilot program may sway them towards making an Inland application. In some cases until now, several Inland applicants who had been able to join their spouses in Canada were unable to work in Canada for extended periods of time while awaiting confirmation of their permanent resident status. This often led to emotional and financial hardships for many Inland applicants, as well as their partners and families.

An open work permit allows applicants to work for any employer for a specified period of time while their permanent residence applications are processed.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has stated that it will begin issuing open work permits to eligible applicants who have already made an application for permanent residence. If an SCLPC applicant has already received approval in principle, he or she then has the option of applying for an open work permit online. For eligible applicants whose applications are received after December 22, 2014, CIC aims to have their application for an open work permit processed within four months. These applicants should complete a permanent residence application and an open work permit application and submit both simultaneously.

“The Inland application option used to have the potential to delay a sponsored person’s professional and personal development in a serious way, leaving them in limbo. Nobody should have to choose between being with their partner and being able to work,” says Attorney David Cohen.

“This change, however, is a win-win for all parties – for the applicant, his or her family and partner, local communities, and the Canadian economy. Canada should want its residents-to-be to feel wanted, and this much-needed pilot program gives Inland applicants that feeling. I anticipate that it will be a success.”

To find out more or to make an enquiry about this pilot program, please contact the CanadaVisa work permit team at

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