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Everything You Need to Know About the Canada Spousal Open Work Permit!

Temporary residents' spouses and common-law partners are eligible to apply for an open work permit. Nonetheless, if your spouse has valid status in Canada, whether employed or enrolled in school, you may be eligible to apply for your spouse's open work permit outside of Canada.

With an open work permit, you can work for any employer in Canada with few restrictions.



This article goes over:


What is the purpose of a Spouse Open Work Permit?

Qualifications for a spousal open work permit

When should you submit your application?


What is the purpose of a Spousal Open Work Permit?

Assume a foreign national's work/study permit has been approved, or they are already in Canada on a work/study permit. The foreign national's spouse can then apply for an open work permit if certain conditions are met.


Foreign nationals are not permitted to work in Canada unless they have the proper authorization. Working in Canada without a proper work permit is illegal and may jeopardize future immigration applications. The steps for applying are outlined below.


Qualifications for a spousal open work permit

To be eligible for a spousal open work permit, you must meet the following minimum requirements:


The sponsoring spouse must have valid temporary resident status in Canada on a study permit. "OR" Sponsoring spouse must have a valid work permit (including PGWP) and be currently employed in a NOC O, A, or B occupation.


When should you submit your application?

Before or after arriving in Canada, your spouse or partner can apply for work permits. The work permit will usually be granted for the same period of time as your partner's (work or study) permit. Your spouse/partner does not need a job offer to apply for a work permit.


In some instances, Canadian visa offices abroad will process applications for spouse work permits simultaneously with those for student/work permits. In this situation, you must include the additional work permit fees and complete the work permit application for your spouse.


Additionally, the majority of spouses may first enter Canada as visitors before applying for a work permit. Therefore, if your spouse or partner doesn’t need a TRV, they might be able to apply for a work visa at the border or airport where they enter Canada.


Documents needed:

  • Digital photograph (420×540 pixels)

  • Passport with only pages of stamps, visas, and photos

  • Proof of funds (bank statements)

  • Your partner’s study/work permit, PR card, or Canadian passport

  • Marriage certificate (translated into English or French)

  • Common in law declaration form IMM5409 (if applicable)

  • Family information form IMM5707 or 5645 (this form is required if mentioned in your checklist)

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