CIC News > Latest News > General > IRCC Confirms Extension of Open Work Permit Pilot Program for Sponsored Spouses and Partners in Canada
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IRCC Confirms Extension of Open Work Permit Pilot Program for Sponsored Spouses and Partners in Canada

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A happy couple walk together in the countryside on a sunny dayThe government of Canada has extended its Open Work Permit Pilot Program for spouses and common-law partners applying for Canadian immigration. The pilot program, first launched in December 2014, allows spouses and common-law partners of Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are currently being sponsored on an application for permanent residence through the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada (SCLPC) Class to work in Canada during the processing of the application.

On December 7, 2016, the government announced that the pilot program would be extended until December 21, 2017. It was previously set to end on December 22, 2016. This is the second time the popular pilot program, which has assisted many couples and families in Canada, has been extended.

The extension of the pilot program is intended to ensure that spouses and partners who are currently being sponsored from inside Canada may continue to work until a decision is made on their application.

Applications for spousal sponsorship may be made either from outside Canada (Outland Sponsorship) or from inside Canada (Inland Sponsorship). Through the Inland Sponsorship route, sponsored spouses or partners may be able to obtain an Open Work Permit and work anywhere in Canada, for any employer. Individuals who wish to be sponsored through Inland Sponsorship must have valid status in Canada, as either a visitor, temporary worker, or student, when the application for permanent residence is submitted.

Improving Family Reunification Process

In its announcement, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) stated that ‘Family reunification is a core immigration priority for the Government of Canada.’ The news of the extension to the program came on the same day that Immigration Minister John McCallum presented a new plan to halve processing times for Family Class applications — including applications through the SCLPC Class. McCallum projected processing times of 12 months for applications submitted to Family Class immigration programs.

Speaking in Brampton, Ontario, McCallum said, “This will be of benefit to the 64,000 spouses we plan to admit to Canada in the coming year, but it will be of benefit to all Canadians because I think that people are more productive citizens, they do better overall when they are with their families than when they are isolated from their families.”

McCallum also outlined new measures put in place by IRCC to ensure the target processing time of 12 months may be met. These include simplified documentation, and moving applications online. The new online system is expected to be available as of December 15, 2016.

How to Obtain the Open Work Permit

In order to be eligible to obtain an Open Work Permit through this pilot program, the sponsored spouse/common-law partner living in Canada is required to:

  • Have valid temporary resident status (as a visitor, student or worker); and,
  • Live at the same Canadian address as the sponsor.

Applicants are advised to submit a work permit application at the same time as the application for permanent residence. Applicants who have already submitted an application for permanent residence but have not yet obtained a work permit, may submit a work permit application separately.

IRCC also states that individuals who have a work permit obtained through the pilot program may apply for work permit extension before their current permit expires.

To find out if you are eligible to sponsor a spouse, common-law partner, or other family member, please complete our free online assessment today.
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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20 thoughts on “IRCC Confirms Extension of Open Work Permit Pilot Program for Sponsored Spouses and Partners in Canada

  1. Avatar

    Did you get it now? How many weeks did it take? Waiting for my wife’s open work permit too and wanted to get an idea how long its taking. Did they update your application online with a decision or sent you the visa straight by mail?

  2. Avatar
    amir Abbas

    I m need Canada work visa .kindly reply me.

  3. Avatar
    Rashmi Ramanna


    I have applied for spouse open work permit visa on Dec 12 2016. My husband works in Calgary. I got job offer in January from one of the famous organization. But since 12th Dec there is no status update on my application. By when I can expect update on my application. Is there any ways I can request for expediting the process. I didn’t attach my offer letter along with my application as I didn’t had one at that time.
    Pleas help


  4. Avatar

    How many months waiting for open work permit if your applying for spousal sponsorship?

  5. Avatar

    Hi, i m MBA and working as banker for last 10 years.i would like to move on the basis of work permit..please advise

  6. Avatar

    Good morning sir, what are the procedures for a family in Nigeria apply for canada work permit.

  7. Avatar
    Donald W. Strtangway

    I am doing ESL training for a Ukrainian gentleman who has been working in Canada as a long haul truck driver for 4 years (he had an employer specific two year work permit in Ontario and is now on a 2 year work permit for a specific company in B.C). His work permit will expire Feb. 23d, 2017. He has a visa that is valid until 29 August of 2026. He is skill level C, NOC #7511. As a truck driver, he is in the top 100 occupations of need in B.C. Until he passes his English test to increase his “points”, can his employer apply to renew his work permit without applying for permanent residence under the BCPNP program and apply later, or do both applications need to go in now at the same time?

  8. Avatar
    Aloe Crystal Ludasi

    hello, my name is Aloe Crystal Ludasi,im a Ugandan,who needs a job to do,i would be grateful,if sponsored,for a permanent citizenship and I work with all my heart,my mind and my energy,thank you

  9. Avatar

    Hello,i’m a secondary school teacher here in Cameroon and i am not married but i have a daughter and i would like to immigrate to Canada.How do i apply.

  10. Avatar
    salembere inoussa

    je suis un jeune burkinabé résident à abidjan en cote-divoire, j,aimérais vous contacter pour un visa d immigration au canada , mais je ne connait personne au canada ,et je n,ai pas de travail au canada . j,aimérais savoir ,quelle conseil vous pouvez me conseiller pour faciliser ma démande de visa.

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