How to apply for a Canadian spousal open work permit

If you and your Canadian partner apply for spousal sponsorship in Canada, you may be eligible to work while waiting on a decision.

Spouses and common-law partners of Canadians can get an open work permit while their inland sponsorship application for permanent residence is being processed. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aims to process applications submitted through the Spousal Sponsorship program within 12 months. The Open Work Permit Program can allow foreign spouses to work while waiting on a decision from IRCC. It can help to mitigate the economic and emotional hardships of a long application process by removing the need for a spouse to choose between living with their partner and being able to work. An open work permit is neither employer nor job-specific and it allows the holder to work for almost any Canadian employer, without first having to get a confirmed offer of employment. These work permits are typically valid for two years or to the date of the applicant’s passport expiry date, whichever comes first.