Open Work Permits for Spouses & Common-Law Partners
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 Work Permits for Spouses & Common-Law Partners
Significant ones can apply for a permit to work in Canada if they are spouses or common-law partners of:
skilled workers in Canada
Atlantic Immigration Pilot work permit holders
Bridging Open Work Permit holders
Open Work Permit holders
Provincial Nominee work permit holders
EU citizens who are intra-company transferees to Canada under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)
Investors, intra-corporate transferees, and professionals and technicians under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)
Spouses & Common-Law Partners of Skilled Workers
Spouse or common-law partner can apply to work in Canada under this category if a principal foreign worker:
holds a work permit valid for a period of at least 6 months, or
is authorized and will be working at least 6 months in Canada without a work permit, and
is employed in occupation of National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill levels 0, A or B, and
physically resides or plans to physically reside in Canada while working.
Spouses of Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) Holders
In all cases, the principal foreign worker must hold an open work permit valid for 6 months or longer. Eligibility to apply and length of permit that could be issued depends on the category of a BOWP.
Thus, to be eligible to apply for a work permit, 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;
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;
federal skilled trades class applicants, the BOWP holder must be performing work within one of the skilled trade occupations in NOC skill level B;
Canadian experience class applicants, there are no set preconditions to be met by the principal applicant;
caregiver applicants, the BOWP holder must be performing work within a qualifying occupation in NOC skill level 0, A or B.
Spouses of Open Work Permit Holders
The following conditions must be met:
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.
Duration of Spousal Open Work Permit
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.
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.
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.
Spouses accompanying investors, intra-corporate transferees, professionals, and technicians under CPTPP can get an open work permit. The duration of a spousal open work permit should be the same as the duration of the stay of a business person they are accompanying.
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.