Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class Work Permits

Steven MeurrensUncategorized

On December 7, 2023, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada released a program delivery update about the public policy for Spouse or Common law Partner in Canada Class or Family Class applicants to apply for open work permits in Canada.  This is commonly known as the Open Spousal Work Permit for spousal sponsorship applications.

To be issued an open work permit under this public policy, the applicant must meet all of the following criteria at the time of decision on the work permit application.
1) The applicant must have submitted the application for an open work permit using the online IRCC Secure account, which is also known as the MyCIC account or the Authorized Paid Representative‘s portal.

2) The applicant has to be physically in Canada and have valid temporary resident status, or be on maintained status, or have applied and be eligible for restoration of temporary status. 

3) be included as a spouse or common-law partner in the SCLPC class, or as a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner in the family class, in a permanent residence application that has met the requirement of a complete application as per section R10.

4) be the subject of a sponsorship application submitted by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner, or an accompanying dependent of same. 

5) at the time of application, be residing at the same residential address in Canada as the sponsor.

The following foreign nationals are not eligible under this exemption category:

  1. applicants whose permanent residence application under the SCLPC class or family class has been refused, withdrawn or returned.
  2. applicants whose permanent residence application is being processed under the spousal public policy (subcategory “PP” in the Global Case Management System [GCMS]) on the basis that they do not have a valid temporary resident status
    • These applicants must wait until they receive approval in principle to be eligible to apply for an open work permit
  3. foreign nationals who submit the work permit application as part of a permanent resident application using the Permanent Residence Portal
  4. if they submit their application at a port of entry
    • If the foreign national submits their application upon entry, they will not meet the requirement of having a valid temporary resident status. At the time of application submission, they must have already been authorized to enter Canada as a temporary resident under section A22.

There is also language in the instructions about a foreign national not being considered the spouse or common law partner or conjugal partner of a person if the marriage was entered into in bad faith, its primary purpose was immigration or it’s not a genuine relationship. This is always something that is is assessed in spousal sponsorship applications. Traditionally, it wasn’t assessed at the work permit stage.