Considering the heartfelt emotions of staying away from families, the Canadian government has introduced the Open Work Permit, allowing foreign spouses and partners-in-law of temporary foreign workers and students to seek work opportunities in Canada.

These Open Work Permits are also available for international students of the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.

In addition to this, the government has introduced a pilot program, in December 2014, permits spouses and common law partners being sponsored through the Inland Spousal Sponsorship of the Family Class to be granted an Open Work Permit even if the permanent residence application is being processed.

An open work permit allows the holder to work under any Canadian employer even if he has not received the Letter of Intent, that is, the offer letter. This is applicable to any industry, meaning that this permit is not job-specific.

Who Can Apply For The Open Work Permit

Under Canadian laws, these permits can be applied for by –

  • Spouses/common-law-partners of temporary foreign workers.
  • Spouses/common-law-partners of expatriate students.
  • Foreign students who have a post-graduation degree from any Canadian educational institution.

Eligibility Conditions For The Application Of The Open Work Permit

In order to apply for an Open Work Permit, foreign spouses or common law partners should meet the following criteria.

  1. Employment of the Principal Foreign Worker

The principal foreign worker should be employed by at a management level, or should be employed in a job that requires professional technical skills or should be a skilled tradesperson. This means that according to the NOC, National Occupational Classification, the skillset must be at Level 0, A or B. It is also mandatory that the employer is a Canadian.

However, this skillset requirement does not apply to expatriates nominated for a permanent residence by the state province. Also, the principal foreign worker must work in Canada for at least six months.

  1. Foreign Students

To be eligible for an Open Work Permit, the spouses or common-law-partners of the foreign students should not be full-time students. The primary foreign student should be undergoing a full-time educational program at a publicly funded diploma/degree granting post-graduation facility.

The work permits are usually granted with a validity corresponding to the employment tenure or the period of the educational program.  These permits are also granted to the candidates of the International Experience Canada Program. For any more questions, you can consult an immigration consultant or attorney.