Open work permit can now be issued to children and sponsored spouses under a new public policy announced on May 26, 2023. Up until recently, only sponsored spouses who had a pending application in the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (SPCLC) could apply for an open work permit. The new public policy now provides for an open work permit for dependent children and for spouses who have pending sponsorship applications processed at a visa post overseas.
The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has announced new measures to strengthen family reunification, including
- faster temporary resident visa (TRV) processing times for spousal applicants (most of these applications will be processed within 30 days)
- new and dedicated processing tools for spousal TRV applicants
- a new open work permit for spousal and family class applicants
- open work permit extensions for open work permit holders expiring between August 1 and the end of 2023
Open work permits are now available for spousal applicants and their dependent children who reside with their sponsor in Canada and have temporary resident status. Spouses, partners and dependants are now able to apply for and receive an open work permit as soon as they submit a complete permanent residence application under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (SPCLC) or other family class programs.
Furthermore, spousal applicants, along with other open work permit holders, whose open work permits expire between August 1 and the end of 2023, will be able to extend their work permits for an additional 18 months. A similar option was recently offered to many with expiring post-graduation work permits.
Open work permits are available to foreign nationals in a number of different situations, but not all will be eligible for an extension through this facilitated processing measure. It will only be offered to
- permanent residence applicants awaiting a decision on their permanent residence application and their spouses
- family class-sponsored spouses with valid temporary resident status and their dependent children
- spouses and common-law partners of most work permit holders and their dependent children
- spouses and common-law partners of study permit holders
You can apply for an open work permit if you’re one of the following:
- a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner living in Canada who’s being sponsored for permanent residence
- an accompanying dependent child of the principal applicant
you must also be
- in a genuine relationship with your sponsor
- included in an application for permanent residence, and have an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) letter confirming that your permanent residence application is being processed
- living in Canada with your sponsor
Minimum age to work
The ‘working age’ varies across provincial and territorial jurisdictions and there is no minimum age for work permit issuance specified in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) or its Regulations.
As such, unless there are reasonable grounds for an officer to be satisfied that a dependent child is unable to perform the work sought or any other reasons for refusal, minors may be issued a work permit.
Valid temporary status
To have valid temporary resident status, you must either
- have a valid temporary resident permit
- have a valid visitor record, work permit or study permit
- have maintained your temporary resident status or
- have applied for and are eligible for restoration of your status as a
- worker or
Once you get your AOR letter, you can apply for an open work permit. You must apply online.
The previous pilot program in effect from December 22, 2014 until May 9, 2023, which allowed the issuance of open work permits to applicants in the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class prior to first-stage approval has ended.
To be issued an open work permit under this public policy the applicant must meet all of the following criteria at the time of application submission.
The applicant must:
- have submitted the application for an open work permit using online IRCC Secure Account (referred to as MyAccount or MyCIC Account or Authorized paid representative portal) as per R9.2
- be physically in Canada and
- be included in an application for permanent residence, that has met the requirement of a complete application as per section 10 of the Regulations and the applicable Ministerial Instructions in the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class (SCLPC) or in the Family Class (FC) as a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner,
- as the principal applicant
- as an accompanying dependent child of the principal applicant in a.
- be the subject of a sponsorship application submitted by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident as
- a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner
- an accompanying dependent child as per R2 of the sponsored person in a.
- at the time of application, be residing at the same residential address in Canada as
- the sponsor, if a principal applicant
- the sponsor and principal applicant, if an accompanying dependent child.
Note: For eligible dependent children, the principal applicant (the spouse, common-law or conjugal partner) must meet the eligibility requirements indicated above in 2, 3.a) and 4.a) at the time of work permit application assessment.
The following foreign nationals are not eligible under this exemption category:
- applicants whose application for permanent residence under the SCLPC or FC has been refused, withdrawn or returned
- applicants whose application for permanent residence is being processed under the spousal public policy (subcategory “PP” in the Global Case Management System [GCMS]) on the basis that they do not have a valid temporary resident status. These applicants must wait until they receive approval in principle to be eligible to apply for an open work permit
- foreign nationals who submit the work permit application as part of a permanent resident application using the Permanent Residence Portal
- if they submit their application at a port of entry because they must have already been authorized to enter Canada as a temporary resident under section A22 to be eligible
With the application for an open work permit, officers should be satisfied that they have the following documentary evidence to make an assessment:
- proof of relationship (for example, marriage certificate, Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (IMM 5409), birth certificate of a common child that shows both parents’ names)
- a copy of the Acknowledgment of Receipt letter confirming that the application for permanent residence has been put into processing;
- proof that they have a valid temporary resident status: for example a valid work permit, visitor record, study permit, Temporary Resident Permit, or a stamp in their passport;
- have the same residential address as their sponsor in Canada
In addition, for dependent children:
- a copy of the IMM 0008 form for the application for permanent residence in which the principal applicant listed the name of their family members.