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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

How To Apply For An Open Work Permit For Your Spouse

How To Apply For An Open Work Permit For Your Spouse

What is an Open Work Permit?

An Open Work Permit is a Work Permit that does not require any job offer or LMIA. An inland spousal sponsorship application can take an emotional toll on people, especially not being able to see close family and friends for up to two years. You have to consider the fact that you or your spouse will have to separate him or herself from everything they grew up with and know. This is a difficult task for anyone to do. It leaves them feeling emotionally vulnerable. It is not just difficult on the sponsored spouse it can also become difficult on the sponsor. The sponsor has to understand that when their spouse arrives they might not know or have anyone else in the country to turn to, this makes them very dependant. It changes the relationship in unexplainable ways. It can either make or break the relationship.

The Open-Work Permit can help this situation tremendously. If approved, your sponsored spouse can work in Canada. This allows your spouse to feel more at home, less vulnerable. It can get uncomfortable for the sponsored spouse to sit around while the sponsor must continue with his/her daily routine. The Open Work Permit allows for an easier transition. An application for an Open Work Permit should be sent with the inland spousal sponsorship application. It simply allows an individual to work in Canada during their stay.

You may be eligible for an Open Work Permit if:

  • You are already in Canada and you have applied for permanent residence and have been approved either under:
    • Spousal Or Common Law Partner In Canada Class
    • Live-In Caregiver Program
    • Federal Skilled Worker Program
    • Canadian Experience Class
    • Provincial Nominee Program
    • Federal Skilled Trades Program
    • Humanitarian And Compassionate Grounds
    • A Family Member Of Someone Who’s Application For Permanent Residence Has Been Approved For One Of The Listed Programs
  • Your spouse is either a skilled worker under the National Occupation Classification or a foreign student.
  • You are in Canada under a federal/provincial agreement, such as an active pilot project or are the spouse of dependent of that individual.
  • You have a temporary resident permit valid for a minimum of six months
  • You are taking part in the Canada World Youth Program or International Experience Canada.
  • You have filed a refugee claim in Canada and are waiting on a response and cannot pay for basic needs without working.
  • Your refugee claim has been rejected, but the government of Canada is not removing you from the country yet.
  • You are a family member of a foreign representative.
  • You are a family member of a foreign military member who is working in Canada
  • You are a professional athlete playing for a Canadian team and need to work to support yourself during this period in time.

As long as you are any of the above, you are eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit. An Open Work Permit can be applied for either from within Canada, outside of Canada, or at the port of entry.

If you are applying for an Open Work Permit from outside of Canada, you would use the regular Work Permit application and within that application you will specify that it is an Open Work Permit application.

If you are applying from inside of Canada, the application is different. The application you would use in this situation is the application to Change Conditions Or Extend Your Stay In Canada. While filling out this application you will also just be required to check the appropriate box for an Open Work Permit.

Overall, an Open-Work Permit is an extremely helpful thing especially in regards to an inland spousal sponsorship. An inland spousal sponsorship may be a very difficult task, especially due to the fact that it can take up to two years. Most people do not want to be a burden, even though the person is your spouse. If a persons ability to work is taken away they may feel useless and it could start to take an emotional toll on him/her. An Open-Work Permit allows this transition to Canada to be smoother. The spouse may also feel that with the ability to work, they are contributing to the relationship and the building of their future together. The spouse will feel good and not like a burden on their sponsor. An Open Work Permit can help keep a couple together and the spouse emotional sane.

Applications for an Open Work Permit may get a little confusing, in the sense that the application itself is not called an Open Work Permit. It may be difficult for an individual to figure out if they are filling out the correct application or not. This is where some professional help might come in handy. An immigration law firm such as Akrami & Associates deals with various immigration situations everyday, their knowledge and expertise can help you in preparing and sending the correct and correctly filled out application with each and every necessary document. Asking for help can only benefit you.

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