Spousal Open Work Permit

Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP) is applied to sponsor’s spouse or common law partner inside Canada to bring them together while waiting for their spousal sponsorship application decision which could take up to 12 months. Instead of economic and emotional hardship the sponsor’s spouse or common law partner may apply for Spousal Open Work Permit. However, spouses or common law partners of skilled workers and students in Canada may also apply for SOWP. Canadian citizen or Permanent resident may sponsor their spouse or common law partner for permanent residency under the Family Class category of Spousal sponsorship.

Open Work Permit for Spouse is not employer or job-specific and it allows the holder to work for almost any Canadian employer, without initially having a confirmed job offer or employment.

By obtaining Canadian Open Work Permit for Spouse, the sponsored spouse or common law partner can live and work beside their spouse in Canada while waiting for the decision on their sponsorship application of PR. SOWP permits are valid up to 02 years unless the applicant’s passport expiry date comes first.

Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP) Eligibility and Requirements

  • For applicants applying for Canadian SOWP under Spousal sponsorship category need to meet the following criteria: –
    • A PR application must be submitted under Spousal or Common law Sponsorship category
    • The applicant and the sponsor must have the same address and reside together in Canada
    • The applicant must have a valid temporary resident status as a visitor, student or worker
    • Both applicant and sponsor must meet the eligibility criteria under Spousal sponsorship category

    Applicants of temporary residents in Canada who are applying for Open Work Permit for Spouse may be eligible if they have:

    • A spouse working temporarily in Canada as a skilled worker in an occupation under the NOC skill type 0, A or B approved to work in Canada for six months or longer.
    • Someone applying for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program in a job under NOC 0, A, B or C
    • A spouse who is a foreign student at a public post-secondary school, such as a college or university (or CEGEP in Quebec)

Members of foreign representatives or foreign military members who are working in Canada may also apply for SOWP.

Spouses of the applicants must meet the eligibility criteria in order for the applicants to obtain Canadian Open Work Permit for Spouse.

Spousal sponsorship is available to couples already living together in Canada where a spouse or common law partner is holding a temporary status in Canada as a visitor, student, or worker.

Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP) Process

The applicant can apply online for a SOWP. When applying for a Canadian SOWP there is no requirement for IELTS score for the applicant and after the open work permit is approved the holder of SOWP can work full-time and stay with their spouse until their work permit is valid.

Open Work Permit for Spouse in Canada may be extended if the status of your spouse or common law partner is primarily extended as well.

Canadian Spousal Open Work Permit can be beneficial for the couple financially as well as making an economic contribution to Canada.

Canada is known for reuniting families together in many different ways, SOWP is just one of them.

SOWP Supporting Documents

When completing a work permit application, select an option for Open Work Permit as the type of work permit and do not fill any information under employer section.

If a spouse of the SOWP applicant is holding a PGWP, a copy of their work permit must be attached with the submission of the application of a SOWP along with their current employment letter confirming the spouse is working in a NOC 0, A or B skilled position and a copy of pay slips needs to be enclosed as well.

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.

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.

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