November 16, 2015
In-Canada Spousal Sponsorships: Pilot Project for Open work permits due to expire 22 December 2015
It is an unfortunate reality that the processing times for spousal sponsorships submitted under the in-Canada class are lengthy. Inland spousal sponsorship applications currently take 27 months to be processed. Applications are processed in two steps. An initial assessment of the sponsor and the applicant takes approximately 17 months. The second stage, involving medical, security and background checks and other verifications of the applicant, takes about 10 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 22 December 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) launched a one-year pilot program issuing open work permits more quickly to applicants being sponsored under the in-Canada class. Applicants have been able to receive open work permits after about 4 months. Previously, the applicant would not qualify for the work permit until the first stage of processing was complete (around 17 months).
The pilot program is due to expire on 22 December 2015, and no announcement has been made about a possible extension. Applicants benefitting from the pilot program enjoy the ability to work in Canada a year earlier than normal, offering them and their families an enormous financial advantage. Applicants wishing to reap this benefit should ensure that they submit their spousal and work permit applications before 22 December 2015 so as to not miss out.
Please note that not all applicants will receive this work permit. 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.
For more information on spousal sponsorships, please click here.