Spousal Open Work Permit

Spouses of certain foreign workers and international students can get an open work permit to work in any job for any employer in Canada, as long as their significant ones retain status.


Who Can Apply For Spousal Open Work Permit?


Spouses of certain foreign workers and international students in Canada can apply for an open work permit. They can work for any Canadian employer in any job as long as the main eligibility requirements are met and their significant ones retain worker or student status. 


Types of Spousal Open Work Permits

Spouses can apply for Canadian open work permit if they are:

  1. Spouses or common-law partners of skilled workers
  2. Spouses and common-law partners of Atlantic Immigration Pilot work permit holders .
  3. Spouses of bridging open work permit holders .
  4. Spouses of open work permit holders .
  5. Spouses of provincial nominee work permit holders .
  6. Spouses or common-law partners of full-time students
  7. Spouses of EU citizens who are intra-company transferees to Canada under the Canada-European Union  Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
  8.  Spouses of investors, intra-corporate transferees, and professionals and technicians under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).


1) Spouses of skilled workers in Canada

A spouse of a principal foreign worker can apply for an open work permit if:

  • a principal foreign worker holds a work permit  valid for a period of at least 6 months, or
  • a principal foreign worker is authorized and will be working at least 6 months in Canada without a work permit, and 
  • a principal foreign worker is employed in occupation of National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill levels 0, A or B, and
  • a principal foreign worker physically resides or plans to physically reside in Canada while working.


2) Spouses and common-law partners of Atlantic Immigration Pilot work permit holders

A spouse or common-law partner of an Atlantic Immigration Pilot participant can apply for an open work permit if a participant is employed in a NOC 0, A, B or C position. A spousal open work permit may be issued at a port of entry and will be issued for a duration of a principal applicant’s work permit, up to a maximum of 1 year


3) Spouses of bridging open work permit (BOWP) holders

A spouse of a foreign worker who has obtained a bridging open work permit may apply for a spousal open work permit if the following eligibility requirements apply:

  • All principal foreign workers’ work permits must be valid for 6 months or longer.
  • For spouses or common-law partners of federal skilled workers class applicants, the BOWP holder must be performing work within NOC skill levels 0, A or B.
  • For spouses or common-law partners of provincial nominee class applicants, the spouse or common-law partner is eligible for an open work permit for the duration of the work permit held by the principal PNC applicant.
  • For spouses or common-law partners of federal skilled trades class applicants, the BOWP holder must be performing work within one of the skilled trade occupations in NOC skill level B.
  • For spouses or common-law partners of Canadian experience class applicants, there are no set preconditions to be met by the principal applicant.
  • For spouses or common-law partners of caregiver applicants, the BOWP holder must be performing work within a qualifying occupation in NOC skill level 0, A or B.


4) Spouses of open work permit holders

If the principal foreign worker is the holder of an open work permit (e.g., post-graduation work permit, working holiday work permit), the spouse or common-law partner applying for an open work permit will need to:


  • prove that the principal worker is employed in an occupation in skill level 0, A or B.
  • attach a letter from the principal foreign worker’s current employer or an employment contract; and
  • a copy of the principal foreign worker’s last 3 payslips.


5) Spouses of provincial nominee work permit holders.

Spouses or common-law partners of work permit holders who have been nominated for permanent residence by a province are entitled to open work permits for the duration of the work permit of the provincial nominee principal applicant.


6) Spouses or common-law partners of full-time students.

Spouses or common-law partners of students engaged in full-time studies at a Canadian educational institution can apply for an open work permit. This applies only to spouses who are not full-time students themselves. Spousal open work permits may be issued with a duration that coincides with the spouse’s study permit.


7) Spouses of EU citizens who are intra-company transferees to Canada under CETA.

Spouses of EU citizens who are intra-company transferees to Canada under CETA are eligible for an open work permit for the same duration as their spouses’ work permit.


8)  Spouses of investors, intra-corporate transferees, and professionals and technicians  under CPTPP.

Spouses accompanying investors, intra-corporate transferees, professionals and technicians under CPTPP can get an open work permit. Duration of a spousal open work permit should be the same as of the duration of stay of a business person they are accompanying.


If you would like to know more about a spousal open work permit, you may call +1-647-695-5256 or email lena.levtsun@leromlaw.com or message us using the contact form below.


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