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Canadian Immigration Blog


Open Work Permit Pilot Project for Spousal Sponsorships Extended

December 15, 2017
couple-168191_1920 Chi-Young Lee

The processing times for spousal sponsorships submitted under the in-Canada class have come down significantly to approximately 12 months from 27 months.

Fortunately, the spouse or common-law partner being sponsored is eligible for an open work permit while the application is being processed. An open work permit allows an applicant to work for any Canadian employer for a specified period of time. On 15 December 2017, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officially renewed its pilot program issuing open work permits more quickly to applicants being sponsored under the in-Canada class until 31 January 2019. Applicants have been able to receive open work permits after approximately 4 months. Previously, the applicant would not qualify for the work permit until the first stage of processing was complete (around 17 months). The extension of this pilot project also benefits individuals who have already been issued work permits under this pilot project who wish to renew their work permits.

Applicants wishing to reap this benefit should ensure that they submit their spousal and work permit applications together.  The pilot program has the following eligibility requirements:

  • The spouse has submitted an application for permanent residence as a member of the in-Canada spousal class;
  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse has submitted a sponsorship application on behalf of the applicant;
  • The spouse and the sponsor reside at the same address; and
  • The spouse has valid temporary resident status in Canada as a visitor, student or worker.

To learn more, click here.


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