How to apply for a Canadian spousal open work permit

Daniel Levy
Published: May 6, 2022

Spouses and common-law partners of Canadians can get an open work permit while their inland sponsorship application for permanent residence is being processed.

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 allow foreign spouses to work while waiting on a decision from IRCC. It can help to mitigate the economic and emotional hardships of a long application process by removing the need for a spouse to choose between living with their 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 get 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.

Schedule a Free Work Permit Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

In order to get a spousal open work permit, the following criteria must be met:

  • A permanent residence application must be submitted under the Spousal/Common-Law Partner Sponsorship Immigration Program;
  • The applicant must reside at the same address as the sponsor (spouse/common-law partner);
  • The applicant must have valid temporary resident status (as a visitor, student, or worker); and
  • The applicant and the sponsor must meet all eligibility requirements under spousal or common-law partner sponsorship.

It is possible to apply for an open work permit and for sponsorship at the same time. If you have already applied for sponsorship, you can apply for the work permit online after you get the acknowledgement of receipt from IRCC.

If the spouse or common-law partner does not have valid status while applying, IRCC will process their work permit application once their permanent residence application has been approved in principle.

Schedule a Free Work Permit Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit CanadaVisa.com to discover your Canadian immigration options.

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at media@canadavisa.com
Related articles
Canada’s immigration system proposes changes to the PGWP
A picture of a number of new graduates at the graduation ceremony
IRCC to introduce advanced analytics and automation to speed up processing for spousal and partner sponsorship
A couple outside in the snow on a winter day.
Getting PR after graduating from a master’s or PhD program as an international student
View from behind a group of five students celebrating their graduation while holding diplomas and wearing their caps and gowns.
Three tools to start looking for jobs after receiving an ITA from IRCC
Coworking spaces foster collaboration among diverse professionals in modern office
Top Stories
Which jobs received the most LMIAs in 2023?
Canada’s immigration system proposes changes to the PGWP
The top three universities in Canada according to the 2025 QS World University Rankings
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
Subscribe
More in Study
Canada’s immigration system proposes changes to the PGWP
A picture of a number of new graduates at the graduation ceremony
The top three universities in Canada according to the 2025 QS World University Rankings
Two friends smiling and celebrating their graduation wearing caps and gowns.
Frequently asked questions about summer jobs for international students in Canada
Young african american student girl using laptop sitting on the table at terrace.
What kind of school should I apply to as an international student in Canada?
Two men collaborating on a computer project.
Link copied to clipboard