Many of our clients come to Canada to work or study temporarily. Oftentimes, these clients ask if they can bring a spouse or family member with them. Our answer to this question is: in most cases, yes! Oftentimes, your spouse or family member is deemed eligible for an open work permit, which will allow them to work full-time while you study or work.
What is a Spousal Open Work Permit?
The open work permit is a type of work permit that allows a person to work for any employer in Canada. There are a few exceptions to this rule, which includes those listed as ineligible on the list of employers who have failed to comply with conditions.
You may be considered eligible for an open work permit if you are:
a spouse of a skilled worker in an occupation under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill type 0, A or B approved to work in Canada six months or longer,
a spouse of a foreign student at a public post-secondary school, such as a college or university or collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec,
a family member of a foreign representative, or
a family member of a foreign military member who is working in Canada.
How to Apply for a Spousal Open Work Permit
Log into your IRCC account through GCKey or a sign-in partner.
Click “Apply for visitor visa or study/work permit”.
Complete the online application (be prepared to attach supporting documentation).
Pay the application fee.
When you complete your work permit application, you will select “Open Work Permit” as the type of work permit. You should also leave the employer section blank.
Attach a copy of your spouse’s open work permit to your own application for an open work permit. You should also include a letter from your spouse’s current employer that confirms their employment and that their position is in a NOC 0, A, or B occupation. Alternatively, you could include a copy of your spouse’s employment offer or contract, and a copy of your spouse’s recent pay slips.
If you are granted a spousal open work permit, it will not be valid longer than your spouse’s open work permit. In other words, your permits will likely expire at the same time.
How long will it take to process a spousal open work permit?
This is the question most of our clients want to know: how long will it take? The spousal open work permit processing time is generally 60 to 90 days. This can differ depending on where and when you submit your application.
When should I apply for a spousal open work permit?
Many of our clients who choose to apply for a spousal open work permit do so with the goal of coming to Canada when their partner starts school in the Fall. You can apply for the open work permit before or after you arrive in Canada. Often, spouses will come to Canada to visit their partner at school/work. While in Canada as a visitor, they submit the application for the open work permit.
If you do not require a Temporary Resident Visa, you may even be able to apply for the open work permit at a Canadian port of entry (i.e. border or airport where you enter Canada).
Whether you are applying for an open work permit from inside Canada (as a Visitor), or from outside Canada in your home country, there are many steps involved in the process. For this reason, Work and Study Permit applications are one of our most popular services. From eligibility requirements to forms to supporting documents, the application process can be both lengthy and daunting. Not to mention, minor errors often lead to the return of an application.
If you are unsure of what steps to take next, contact us.
We can help you determine the best course of action for your unique situation and ensure your immigration goals are met with success.