Introducing Open Work Permit Eligibility for Spousal & Family Class Applicants

Spouse Open Work Permit Spousal
  • May 29, 2023

In a recent announcement by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, a new temporary public policy was introduced, offering an open work permit to spousal and family class applicants. This policy aims to facilitate family reunification and provide greater opportunities for foreign nationals in Canada. In this article, we will explore the eligibility criteria for the open work permit and the application process. Let’s dive in.


Eligibility Criteria for Open Work Permit

The new public policy, signed by Sean Fraser, focuses on granting open work permits to foreign nationals applying under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class or the Family Class, including family members with valid temporary resident status. To be eligible for the open work permit, applicants must meet the following criteria:

The foreign national is:

  • A principal applicant who has submitted an application for permanent residence under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class or as a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner under the Family Class, which has been accepted for processing by IRCC after meeting the requirements for a complete application.
  • The subject of a sponsorship application submitted by their Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner.
  • Residing at the same address in Canada as their sponsor at the time of application.
  • Possessing either current and active status as a temporary resident in Canada or the ability to apply for restoration of status and having done so.


The foreign national is:

  • A dependent child who has been included as an accompanying family member in the application for permanent residence.
  • Meeting all the requirements mentioned in the first part.


Application Process

Once you have received an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) for your permanent residence application under the spousal or family class, eligible spouses and dependent children will need to apply online for an open work permit. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the application process:

  • Sign in to your GCKey or create a new one if you don’t have it.
  • Answer specific questions to generate a personalized documents checklist.
  • In the work permit application form, select “Yes” to confirm your eligibility for the open work permit.
  • Choose “open work permit” as the type of work permit you are applying for.
  • Ensure that you enter the following code for the job title and description of duties:
    • Job Title: Enter “SCLPC – FC OWP”
    • Brief Description of Duties: Enter “SCLPC – FC applicant in Canada public policy”

It is important to note that the above information should not be confused with the 18-month spousal open work permit extension, which was also announced recently. Spousal open work permit holders eligible for an 18-month extension are expected to receive an automatic extension option in their online IRCC secure account. However, they may still need to apply for an open work permit under the new temporary public policy.


Definition of Dependent Child for Canada Family Sponsorship

In the context of Canada family sponsorship applications, a dependent child is defined as:

  • A person who is younger than 22 years old and does not have a spouse or common-law partner.


  • A person who is older than 22 years old but has relied significantly on the financial assistance of the parent since before the age of 22, and is unable to maintain oneself financially due to a physical or mental ailment.

As the implementation date of the new 18-month open work permit extension approaches on June 7, more clarity regarding the application process and requirements is expected to be provided.

This new temporary public policy opens up opportunities for spousal and family class applicants


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