Foreign nationals being sponsored for Canadian permanent residence by their spouse or common-law partner may be eligible to apply for an open work permit. In order to apply for an open work permit, the foreign national must be applying for spousal sponsorship from inside of Canada through the inland spousal sponsorship process. As well, applicants should ensure that they meet the full eligibility criteria required for the program.
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If a foreign national is successful in their work permit application, they will be issued an open work permit authorizing them to work for multiple employers in any location in Canada while their permanent residency application is processing. The application procedure for the spousal sponsorship open work permit varies depending on the applicant’s status in Canada and the stage of their permanent residency application. Foreign nationals cannot work in Canada without the appropriate authorization. Engaging in any form of employment in Canada without the proper work permit is unlawful can jeopardize future immigration applications.
In order to be eligible to apply for a spousal sponsorship open work permit, a foreign national must have applied for permanent residency sponsorship from within Canada through the inland stream of the spousal sponsorship program.
- If you have not submitted your sponsorship application: The sponsorship, permanent residence, and open work permit applications may all be submitted together in a single envelope in hard copy. Ensure that all supporting documentation and required proof of payments for all applications are included. The applications should be submitted to the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga (CPC-M), Ontario.
- If your permanent residence application is submitted but has not yet received approval in principle: The open work permit application may be submitted in hard copy to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville (CPC-V), Alberta.
- If your permanent residence application has been approved in principle: The open work permit application may be submitted online or in hard copy to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville (CPC-V), Alberta.
Approval in principle (AIP) means that a person’s permanent residence application has been cleared by IRCC as meeting the eligibility requirements, but the application has not yet passed through processing for medical exams and security/background checks. While this means the application has successfully passed through several stages of processing, permanent residency may still be denied after receipt of the AIP.
A foreign national must have valid status in Canada (visitor, student, worker, etc.) in order to submit a work permit application at the same time as their permanent residence application. If an applicant is out of status in Canada, they must wait until their permanent residence application has received approval in principle to submit their work permit application.