Canada is a land of opportunities, and many people dream of building a life in this beautiful country. However, moving to Canada is challenging, especially for married people who want to relocate with their spouses. Fortunately, the Canadian government recognizes the importance of keeping families together and offers an open spousal work permit that allows spouses of certain foreign workers to work in Canada. This can be a game-changer for many couples who aim to begin a new life in Canada. In this article, we will look at how an open spousal work permit can help you build a life in Canada and the benefits it brings to both you and your spouse. Regardless of whether you are a foreign worker or a spouse looking to accompany your partner to Canada, this article will provide valuable insights on making the most of this opportunity.
What is an Open Spousal Work Permit?
An open spousal work permit allows the spouse or common-law partner of a foreign worker in Canada to work for any employer in the country without needing a job offer or a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). However, this means that a spouse can work in any field or occupation and can switch jobs as often as they like, as long as their work permit remains valid. An open spousal work permit can be issued for the same duration as the foreign worker’s work permit. As a foreign worker, it can be renewed if you meet the eligibility criteria.
Documentation required for an Open Spousal Work Permit
Once you’ve determined that you’re eligible to apply for a spousal open work visa, you may gather the required papers to complete the application process efficiently. Here are the documents you’ll need:
Proof of a genuine relationship: You must present a marriage certificate or declaration of a common-law relationship. You may also need to submit joint property ownership or rent documents or other important documents with the same address as proof that you’ve been residing together for at least a year. Proof of your spouse’s or common-law partner’s status in Canada. If your spouse or common-law partner (as the principal foreign national) is a work permit holder, you may be required to include any of the following documentation:
Copies of their last three pay stubs
- A copy of your work permit.
- If your spouse is a study permit holder, you may need to provide the following:
- Enrollment letter that indicates your spouse attends a designated learning institution
- Evidence that your spouse is a full-time student in a PGWP-eligible study program and institution
- Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR) letter: if you’ve applied for PR and your application is still being processed, you’ll need to provide your AOR, which confirms that the IRCC received your application and has begun processing it.
- Your passport: Before applying for a SOWP, verify your passport’s expiration date. Your work permit won’t be valid beyond the expiry date of your passport or your spouse’s or common-law partner’s work permit—whichever is earlier.
- Biometrics: You’ll need to provide biometrics unless you’ve submitted them within the last 10 years as part of a previous application, and they’re still valid.
- Medical or criminal background check: You may be required to submit a medical or criminal background check.
- Proof of payment: You’ll need to pay the applicable processing fees and submit proof of payment with your application.
Benefits of an Open Spousal Work Permit
An open spousal work permit offers several benefits to a foreign worker’s spouse or common-law partner in Canada. Some of the key benefits are:
– Freedom to work at any employer in Canada: With an open spousal work permit, your spouse or common-law partner can work for any employer in Canada without needing a job offer or an LMIA. This provides much flexibility and opens up a range of career opportunities.
– Ability to switch jobs: Your spouse or common-law partner can switch jobs as often as they like, as long as their work permit remains valid. This allows them to explore different career paths and gain valuable work experience.
– Social benefits: Your spouse or common-law partner can access the same social benefits as Canadian citizens and permanent residents, such as healthcare, education, and social services. This might be a considerable comfort for those new to Canada and needing assistance.
– Opportunity to build a network: Working in Canada allows the spouse or common-law partner to build a professional network and connect with people in their interest. This may result in new work prospects and professional advancement.
– Pathway to permanent residency: If the spouse or common-law partner gains enough work experience in Canada, they might be eligible for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program. This might be a fantastic alternative for establishing a life in Canada while receiving the benefits of permanent status.
How to Apply for an Open Spousal Work Permit
To apply for a (SOWP), the spouse or common-law partner must follow these steps:
Go to the Immigration Canada website and complete the questionnaire to know your eligibility status.
- Note your reference code, which you will be given after the questionnaire. Log in to MyCIC (or, if you don’t already have one, register for an account – also known as a “GC
- “) Include your UCI (Universal Client ID – which can be found on your Study Permit).
- Complete the PDF Application Form provided
Please save it to your computer/laptop and upload it to your application page—note, (the electronic signature is optional).
When filing for a spousal work permit, no employment offer is required. In the areas that ask for this information, you can enter “not applicable.”
No Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is necessary for the above work permits; you can leave this section blank.
- Upload required documents
Upload your saved IMM5710 form to your application.
When asked to upload your passport, include ALL stamped/marked pages. All of them should be scanned into one document.
If you were required to take a medical test as part of your work permit application, provide documentation (i.e., a receipt) in the additional documents area.
- Pay the required fees: Spousal work permit = $155 + new $100 fee (as of April ., 2023) = $255
You may learn how long it will take to receive your Work Permit from IRCC. Processing times vary depending on volume and time of year.
Processing Time and Fees
The processing time and fees for an open spousal work permit can vary depending on the country of residence and other factors. Currently, the processing time for online applications is around 62 days, while the processing time for paper applications is around 107 days. The fees for an open spousal work permit are CAD 255 per person, plus an additional CAD 85 for biometric fees, if applicable.
After getting an Open Spousal Work Permit – What’s Next?
After obtaining an open spousal work visa, the spouse or common-law partner may begin working in Canada and all the privileges that come with it. However, there are certain essential things to bear in mind:
– The spouse or common-law partner must ensure that they comply with the conditions of their work permit, such as working for the specified employer and in the specified occupation.
– The spouse or common-law partner must renew their work permit before it expires to continue working in Canada.
– The spouse or common-law partner must ensure that they maintain their legal status in Canada by renewing their visitor status or applying for permanent residency, if applicable.
How an Open Spousal Work Permit can help you build a Life in Canada
An open spousal work visa may be a game changer for individuals looking to make a life in Canada. It enables the spouse or common-law partner to work in Canada, pursue several career options, and obtain significant work experience. This may lead to new work prospects, professional advancement, and permanent residence in Canada. Furthermore, it permits the couple to remain together and start a family in Canada without worrying about separation or long-distance relationships.
An open spousal work permit can be a great way to build a life in Canada as a family. It permits the spouse or common-law partner to work in Canada, explore different career paths, and gain valuable work experience. Furthermore, it permits the couple to remain together and develop a life in Canada without worrying about separation. If you are an expatriate in Canada or a spouse wishing to join your partner in Canada, an open spousal work visa may be the key to opening a world of options.