Spousal Open Work Permit-Canada

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Introduction

The spouse or common-law partner of a temporary work permit holder who is a skilled worker is entitled to an open work permit.


A skilled worker is defined as someone who belongs to Skill Level O, A or B on the National Occupational Classification (NOC) Matrix.


If a worker belongs to a lower skill level on the NOC Matrix - their spouse may be entitled to an open work permit based on any active pilot projects that may be running.


The spouse or common-law partner of a study permit holder also is entitled to a spousal open work permit.


The holder of an open work permit can accept any job, from any employer, in any part of Canada (They require a medical in order to work in health, or with children, specify this in the application in order that a medical is requested by the visa officer)


The spousal open work permit is valid as long as the primary applicant's temporary work permit or study permit is valid.


Applying outside of Canada

It is best to apply for a spousal open work permit at the same time as your spouse applies for a temporary work permit or study permit, while you're still overseas.


When you submit both of your work permit applications, make sure they are cross referenced to each other.


On the spouse's application, write "spousal work permit" where you're meant to fill in job details.


Remember to submit enough money to cover both work permit applications, that is, $150 x 2 = $300.


Applying with spouse at port of entry

If your spouse/partner applies for a temporary work permit or study permit at a Canadian port of entry (POE) and you are accompanying him/her, you may apply and pay for a spousal open work permit (SOWP) at the same time.


If the principal applicant's permit is granted at the POE, the accompanying spouse/partner's SOWP will be issued on the spot as well.


Applying after spouse at port of entry

You also may apply for a spousal open work permit at your POE if you travel to Canada after your partner has been issued with a temporary work permit or study permit and already is working or studying in Canada.


In this case the following spouse/partner must have a copy of the principal applicant's valid work/study permit and evidence that the principal applicant is working or studying in Canada.


Other standard conditions and fee apply.


Applying inside Canada

If you accompanied your spouse to Canada on his/her temporary work permit or study permit, but did not apply for a spousal open work permit in advance of your entry to Canada, your spouse would have named you as an accompanying dependent on his/her application form.


If you change your mind and want to work in Canada after all, you have to apply to have your status changed from an accompanying dependent to a temporary worker.


You need to complete an Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay, or Remain in Canada.


Read the Guide, complete the application form, attach the supporting documents they ask for and pay the fees.


Note that this application has to be submitted to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta.


Instead of attaching the documents they ask for -- like HRSDC confirmation (which basically means a Labour Market Opinion) and a job offer letter -- you need to attach a photocopy of your spouse's temporary work permit.


It wouldn't hurt to attach other evidence of your spouse's employment in Canada, e.g., photocopies of a few pay stubs.


Reports on the BE forum suggest that it takes 6 - 8 weeks to obtain a spousal open work permit if you apply for it from inside Canada.