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Spouses Awaiting Immigration to Canada take Advantage of Open Work Permit Pilot Program

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In December of last year, reported that Canada was piloting a new program whereby certain spouses and common-law partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents in the Spouses or Common-Law Partners in Canada Class (SCLPC) could obtain open work permits while their application for permanent residence through the inland sponsorship category of the SCLPC is undergoing processing.

An open work permit allows an applicant to work for any Canadian employer for a specified period of time while his or her application for permanent residence is processed. Over recent months, many applicants for Canadian immigration have taken advantage of this new opportunity. In effect, the pilot program has ensured that applicants don’t have to choose between being able to work and being with their partner and children, if applicable. This pilot program also allows the applicants to receive provincial health coverage while awaiting permanent residence in Canada.

How it works

If an SCLPC applicant has already received approval in principle on an application made before December 22, 2014, he or she then has the option of applying for an open work permit online. New SCLPC applicants should complete an application for permanent residence and an open work permit application simultaneously. Standard medical requirements for open work permits apply. Applicants may see their open work permit applications processed within four months.​

“This pilot program has allowed many residents-to-be to provide for their families and contribute to Canada’s economy at the same time, giving them an opportunity to enter the Canadian labour market and society,” says Attorney David Cohen.

“In spite of that, many existing and potential applicants for inland spousal sponsorship remain unaware of the opportunity to begin working in Canada while the application is in process. Initial news of the pilot program may have slipped under the radar in the run-up to Christmas and New Year, which is understandable.

“When the program was launched a few months ago, I anticipated that it would be a success because it is a win-win for all parties – for the applicant, his or her family and partner, local communities, and the Canadian economy. I hope that more applicants for inland spousal sponsorship become aware of it and that the government extends it beyond its initial 12-month mandate.”

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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43 thoughts on “Spouses Awaiting Immigration to Canada take Advantage of Open Work Permit Pilot Program

  1. Avatar

    I’m Aaron from the Philippines. My wife is under live-in caregiver program in British Columbia and she’s already been there for 7 years. We have application for Permanent Residence since 2012 and until now still waiting and hoping for the approval of Canada Immigration. Last April 2017, on my behalf my wife applied this OWP program but last May 2017 we received a letter from Immigration that our application for this OWP has been denied. My wife tried again another way, on my behalf and to our 7 year old son she applied the Visitor’s Visa last May 2017 but unfortunately still denied by the CIC. We hope and pray that CIC will approve our application soon. Thank you.
    God bless us all.

  2. Avatar
    Ruan Pienaar

    Good day. My fiancee is a Canadian and we both live in South Africa. Due to the terrible state of the country we are moving to Canada. Should we try outland (from SA) or move and apply inland? We will have savings so I will be able to provide for myself for about half a year without work. Applying outland is faster BUT proving intent to move to Canada is hard since we cannot lease property or anything without knowing the status of our application. Applying inland worries me since I need to go on a visitor visa and then Im not sure how it will work from there. Last thing I want to do is lie to the officer at the border about my intentions to remain indefinitely, especially since we will probably only purchase one way tickets. Please, can anyone advise me?

  3. Avatar

    i applied in 2013. plz reply how long we wait for pr under live in caregiver .my husband medical is already expired .we dont get any response from cic

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