Are you looking to join your spouse or partner in Canada? If you’re a spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you can apply for a spousal open work permit, while your application for permanent residency is in process.
In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about spousal open work permits in Canada, making the process clearer and simpler for you.
What is a Spousal Open Work Permit?
A spousal open work permit allows spouses, common-law, and conjugal partners of Canadian citizens or permanent residents to work in Canada while their sponsorship application for permanent residence is being processed.
It grants the flexibility to work for almost any employer in Canada, supporting themselves and their families during the application process.
Who Is Eligible For Spousal Open Work Permit?
To obtain a spousal open work permit, the applicant must meet the following criteria:
- Application Status: Be a principal applicant under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class or a spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner under the family class, accepted for processing by IRCC.
- Duration: The work permit application should be for a maximum duration of two years.
- Sponsorship: Be the subject of a sponsorship application submitted by their Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse, common-law, or conjugal partner.
- Residential Address: Have the same residential address as their sponsor in Canada during the application.
- Status: Maintain a valid temporary resident status in Canada or apply for the restoration of their status if necessary.
Spousal Sponsorship: What You Need to Know
Spousal sponsorship is a vital part of Canada’s immigration system, and it’s crucial to understand the basics:
Categories for Sponsorship
Three categories qualify for sponsorship:
- Spouse: This category is for legally married couples.
- Common-Law Partner: If you’ve been living together with your partner for at least 12 consecutive months in a marriage-like relationship, you qualify.
- Conjugal Partner: For those who have been in a continuous and committed relationship for at least 12 months but have faced significant obstacles preventing cohabitation, such as cultural, religious, or immigration barriers.
As a sponsor, you commit to providing financial support for the basic needs of the person you’re sponsoring. These basic needs include:
- Housing: You need to ensure your sponsored spouse or partner has a place to live, including covering utility bills.
- Food and Personal Hygiene Products: You’re responsible for providing food and personal hygiene products.
- Clothing and Daily Necessities: This includes clothing and items necessary for daily living.
- Medical Expenses: You should cover medical expenses not covered by public health insurance, such as dental and eye care.
The undertaking you sign as a sponsor is valid for three years from the day your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner becomes a permanent resident in Canada.
Canada’s Family Reunification Initiatives
Canada is dedicated to reuniting families more efficiently. Spouses, partners and dependents of permanent residents, citizens, temporary workers, and students already in Canada are eligible for a spousal open work permit. The introduction of open work permits for outland spousal sponsorship in May 2023 came with other family reunification measures by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC):
- Faster Processing: Spousal applicants benefit from quicker processing times for. temporary resident visas (TRVs).
- Dedicated Tools: Specialized processing tools are available for spousal TRV applicants, streamlining the application process.
- Work Permit Extensions: Open work permit holders whose permits expire between August 1, 2023, and the end of the year can apply for extensions.
Understanding spousal open work permits is essential for families seeking to reunite and build a life together in Canada. The simplified guidelines and supportive initiatives from the Canadian government reflect its commitment to family reunification.
If you have any further questions, consult official resources or immigration experts to make your journey smoother.