Spousal Open Work Permits

One of the most beneficial changes made by the previous government was to grant work permits to foreign nationals who had submitted an application for permanent residence under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada (SCLPC) class.

Whereas before a foreign spouse would have to wait endlessly (sometimes up to 2 years as a visitor) before having social benefits and the right to work, now the same spouse can receive a work permit within 4 months of the application being filed. The permanent application may still take more than one year, but the foreign national can be more productive during the waiting period.

As of December 22, 2014, open work permits are being issued to eligible applicants under the SCLPC class at an earlier stage in processing. This pilot project was renewed on December, 2015 and is currently expiring on December 21, 2016. However, given the tremendous acceptance of the same, it will in all likelihood be renewed again.

Officers will issue open work permits to SCLPC class applicants if they meet the following requirements:

  • a permanent residence application has been submitted under the SCLPC class;
  • a Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse has submitted a sponsorship application;
  • the SCLPC class applicant resides at the same address as the sponsor; and
  • the SCLPC class applicant has valid temporary resident status (as a visitor, student, or worker).

As a side-note there are other routes as well for foreign national spouses to obtain open work permits. These avenues include qualifying foreign nationals currently in Canada who have submitted an application for permanent residence under one of the economic classes (the Federal Skilled Worker Class [FSWC], the Canadian Experience Class [CEC], the Provincial Nominee Class [PNC], or the Federal Skilled Trades Class [FSTC]).

See the following:

spouses of skilled workers eligible under paragraph R205(c) (exemption code C41);

spouses of foreign students eligible under paragraph R205(c) (exemption code C42);