Work in Canada with a Spousal Open Work Permit

How can you sponsor your spouse so they can come work in Canada? What are the different types of spousal sponsorship? If you have questions about how to apply for a spousal open work permit in Canada, our Ottawa and Orleans immigration physicians have some answers for you in this post. 

Keeping families and loved ones together in Canada is one of our federal government's priorities when it comes to family class immigration. Spousal sponsorship is just one of the options available. It can be broken out into two similar sub-sections, with some important differences - inland spousal sponsorship and outland spousal sponsorship. 

Types of Spousal Sponsorship 

While both inland and outland spousal sponsorship have many aspects to learn about, we'll focus on some important differences between the two below. 

Outland Sponsorship

A Canadian can sponsor their spouse or common-law partner living abroad for permanent residence (PR). 

Inland Sponsorship

The sponsor and foreign national being sponsored must already live together in this country. The foreign national being sponsored will also have the opportunity to receive a Spousal Open Work Permit while the government is processing their application for PR in Canada. 

What is a spousal open work permit?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canara (IRCC) typically processes spousal sponsorship applications in about 12 months. 

Under a spousal open work permit, common-law partners and sponsored spouses living with their Canadian partner can look for work with a Canadian employer while a decision is being made on their application for permanent residency. 

Since a long, grueling application process can lead to financial and emotional burden for many people who'd like to come to Canada, the government established spousal open work permits to allow people being sponsored to earn money without being linked to a specific job or employer, as would be the case with some of our country's other work permit options. 

How to Apply for a Work Permit in Canada

Our immigration physicians in Ottawa and Orleans are sometimes asked, 'How can I go to Canada for work?'

With spousal sponsorship, sponsored individuals can obtain an open work permit without having an existing employment offer in place. This permit will be valid for either two years or until the date the permit holder's passport expires - whichever arrives sooner. 

If you are a foreign national wondering how to legally work in Canada, you'll need to consider eligibility requirements and understand the application process for spousal open work permits. We'll get into those details below. 

Eligibility Requirements for a Spousal Open Work Permit

Here's what's required to be eligible for a spousal open work permit:

  • The Canadian sponsor and the foreign national in a spousal or common-law relationship must submit an application for permanent residence through the inland sponsorship stream of the Spousal/Common-Law Partner Sponsorship Immigration Program 
  • The foreign national applying for a work permit must have valid temporary resident status as either a student, visitor or worker in Canada 
  • Both the foreign national applicant and the Canadian sponsor fulfill all eligibility requirements under the spousal or common-law partner sponsorship program 

Application Process for the Canadian Spousal Open Work Permit

Anyone wishing to apply for a spousal open work permit must first wait to receive a letter from the IRCC acknowledging receipt of their sponsorship application before starting the application process. 

Once aspiring applicants receive this letter, foreign nationals can apply for a spousal open work permit online. 

Here are the steps to apply:

  1. Create or sign in to your online account with IRCC. 
  2. Answer questions online to receive a personalized document checklist. 
  3. Complete the Online Application Form by taking these steps:
    1. Choose "Open Work Permit" to the question: "Which type of work permit are you applying for?".
    2. Choose "SCLPC OWP" in the "Job Title" box.
    3. Choose "Spouse and Common-Law Partner in Canada Pilot Program" in the "Brief Description of Duties" box. 
    4. Upload documents where requested. 
    5. Submit your application. 

Do have questions about how to apply for or get a Canadian work permit? Our doctors at Immigration Physician Ottawa can help. We can provide guidance on the application process and provide health exams and certifications as needed. Contact us today to book an appointment.


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