How to Get a Spousal Open Work Permit in Canada

Every year thousands of foreigners immigrate to Canada with their spouses or common-law partners to work or continue with higher studies. Now, the Canadian government does allow spouses to work in the country, provided they have a spousal open work permit. What is it? How to apply for one? What are the requirements? Let’s delve into the details.

What is Spousal Open Work Permit in Canada?

If you are married to a temporary resident who is in Canada to work or to study, or if you have been sponsored for PR by your partner or spouse residing in the country, you may be eligible for a spousal open work permit.

Your spouse must meet certain employment criteria set by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which includes working for a Canadian employer in a skilled occupation (National Occupational Classification [NOC] 0, A or B) or being a full-time student at a designated learning institution. For more information on the employment criteria, please visit IRCC’s website.

What are the requirements for Spousal Open Work Permit?

Your spouse or common-law partner can work in Canada while you study or work. To do so, they must apply for and obtain a spousal open work permit. The requirements for a spousal open work permit are as follows:

  1. You must have a valid study or work permit.
  2. Your spouse or common-law partner must have a valid passport.
  3. You must be married or in a common-law relationship with your spouse or common-law partner.
  4. You must prove that your marriage or common-law relationship is genuine by providing evidence of cohabitation, such as joint ownership of property, utility bills, and/or financial accounts.
  5. You and your spouse or common-law partner must sign an undertaking that says you will leave Canada at the end of the permitted stay shown on the work permit.
  6. There is no fee for applying for a spousal open work permit; however, your spouse or common-law partner may need to pay the Open Work Permit Holder fee and submit biometrics (fingerprints and photo) with their application if they are from a country that is subject to biometric requirements.

The processing time for a spousal open work permit is typically around two weeks; however, this may vary depending on the Canadian visa office and other formalities. Once approved, the work permit will be valid for the same period as the spouse’s temporary resident visa.

What is the process of getting a spousal open work permit?

The process of obtaining a spousal open work permit in Canada is a two-stage process.

  • Firstly, the spouse must obtain a valid temporary resident visa.
  • Secondly, the spouse must apply for a work permit once they arrive in Canada.

The spouse must meet the requirements for a valid temporary resident visa, which include providing proof of relationship to the sponsoring Canadian citizen or permanent resident, as well as meeting all other admissibility requirements such as those related to health and security. The visa application must be submitted online or at a Canadian visa office located outside of Canada. If applying online, the applicant will need to create an account and complete the necessary forms.

Once the spouse has received their temporary resident visa and arrived in Canada, they can then apply for a work permit by completing the required application form and submitting it along with an appropriate fee.

A spousal open work permit allows your spouse to work full-time or part-time for any employer in Canada, without the need for a specific job offer.

Wrapping Up

If you need any help applying for a spousal open work permit in Canada, feel free to reach our experts at Akrami & Associates. We are a team of experienced immigration lawyers and consultants, well adept with the application process for different kinds of visas and the challenges involving them.

We will guide you through the process and make sure ensuring you get your visa approved without any difficulties. For a free consultation, call 416-477-2545 or mail us at 

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