This pilot program allows spouses and common-law partners of Canadians or Permanent Residents to be granted an open work permit. In contrast, their inland sponsorship application for permanent residence is processed.
The Spousal Sponsorship program is a subsection of the Family Class immigration category. A Canadian or permanent resident (the sponsor) may sponsor their spouse or common-law partner (the sponsored person) for Canadian permanent residence. Inland sponsorship is a spousal sponsorship available to couples who are already living together in Canada where the spouse/common-law partner has temporary status in Canada, either as a worker, student, or visitor.
IRCC aims to process applications submitted through the Spousal Sponsorship program within 12 months. In addition, the Open Work Permit Pilot Program can help mitigate the economic and emotional hardships of a lengthy application process by removing the need for a spouse to decide between being with their partner and working.
The holder of an open work permit can work for any Canadian employer without a confirmed offer of employment. A real work permit is not job-specific. These work permits are valid for two years or until the date that the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first.
This pilot program was first introduced for 12 months in December 2014. It has been extended until December 21, 2017.
To be issued an open work permit, the following criteria must be met:
- A permanent residence application must be submitted under the Spousal/Common-Law Partner Sponsorship Immigration Program;
- A Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse/common-law partner has submitted a sponsorship application on their behalf;
- The applicant must reside at the same address as the sponsor (spouse/common-law partner);
- The applicant must have valid temporary resident status (as a visitor, student, or worker); and
- The applicant and sponsor must meet all spousal or common-law partner sponsorship eligibility requirements.
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