Can my Spouse Apply for an Open Work Permit?
Updated: May 18
Spousal Open Work Permit
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 payslips.
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 DOES 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 four to five months. 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).
OTHER IMPORTANT FACTORS TO KNOW
For spouses of students, it’s always important to show current status in Canada (study permit) and that they’re currently enrolled in taking classes → With students, it’s important to show that they have the financial resources to support themselves (as a student) and their spouse
For spouses of workers, it’s crucial that you show an employment letter from the employer in Canada → The letter should confirm that the worker in Canada is employed in a skilled position (it must show the duties they perform) → You should also include at least 2 payslips from the employer showing that they’re earning money
You must show ties to your home country to prove that you will return to your country of citizenship (even if you intend to apply for Canadian Permanent Residency)
You must show that your relationship is valid - especially if it’s a new marriage. If you recently married your spouse, you should treat your application more like a sponsorship application than a work permit application. → Provide proof of relationship such as a marriage certificate, photos, proof of communication, proof of shared funds, etc.
Calver and Associates is a leading provider of Canadian Immigration services in Durham Region. We serve clients in Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, and beyond. Our Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant has over 10 years of experience in Canadian Immigration law and over four years of experience serving those in the Oshawa area.
We can provide assistance with applications for both temporary and permanent residency in Canada. We handle applications for study permits, permanent residency, family class sponsorship, visitor visas, work permits, and Canadian citizenship. We also handle criminal inadmissibility cases by developing remedies for refusal.