August 21, 2020

Open Work Permit Pilot Program for In-Canada Spousal Sponsorship Extended

Posted by Athena Portokalidis - Bellissimo Law Group PC

The Open Work Permit Pilot Program (“Pilot Program”) first launched on 22 December 2014.[1] The Pilot Program allows Permanent Resident applicants in the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class (“SCLPC”) to submit an Open Work Permit application with their Permanent Resident application.[2] The Pilot Program was extended multiple times, and was most recently set to end on 31 July 2020, before Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) issued a notice indicating that the Pilot Program would be extended indefinitely “until the regulatory changes have been finalized to permanently implement this policy.”[3]

In order to be eligible for an Open Work Permit under the Pilot Program, the applicant must have submitted a complete Permanent Residence application under the SCLPC class that is either in process or has been received by IRCC for processing, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse has submitted a Sponsorship application on their behalf, the applicant must reside at the same address as the sponsor, and the applicant must have valid temporary status or their application for restoration of status with authorization to work has been received by IRCC and an Officer has determined the applicant is eligible for restoration.[4]

It is wonderful that IRCC plans to implement this Pilot Program permanently, as it allows eligible applicants under the SCLPC to potentially obtain authorization to work while they await a final decision on their Permanent Residence applications. This is important now more than ever as IRCC advises that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and associated service disruptions mean IRCC is not able to process applications normally, which may result in longer than normal processing times. If you have questions about your eligibility for the Pilot Program, feel free to contact our office to schedule a consultation.