New Open Work Permit Policy for Spouses of Canadian Residents

Great news for spouses of Canadian residents! As of May 2023, you can now apply for an open work permit as soon as you file your full application for permanent residence. This means you can work for any employer in Canada while your application is being processed, helping you support yourself and your family financially.

In a significant move to enhance family reunification and support immigrants, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced a groundbreaking policy in May 2023, allowing spouses, partners, and dependents of permanent residents, citizens, temporary workers, and students in Canada to apply for an open work permit.

This move has opened up new avenues for families navigating the immigration process.

Open Work Permit for Spouses and Dependents

Upon becoming citizens of Canada and obtaining permanent residency, individuals can now apply for an open work permit for their spouse, partner, or dependent children.

This initiative aims to facilitate family members in contributing to the Canadian workforce while their sponsorship application for permanent residence is in progress.


What does this mean for you?

  • You can now work for any employer in Canada while your application is being processed, helping you support yourself and your family financially.
  • This new policy removes the previous requirement to wait for an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) before applying for an open work permit.
  • This is a significant change that will benefit thousands of families across Canada.

Who is eligible?

Under the latest policy, spouses, partners, and dependents can apply for an open work permit as soon as they file a full application for permanent residence under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (SPCLC) or other family class programs.

This enables sponsored individuals to work for almost any employer in Canada, supporting themselves and their families during the application process.

How to apply

To avail of the Open Work Permit Program, individuals must apply online. Simultaneously, those looking to sponsor their spouse, partner, or child for permanent residence must submit sponsorship applications.

This streamlined process aligns with the IRCC’s commitment to efficiency and accessibility in immigration procedures.

  • Both the sponsor and the sponsored person must apply online.
  • You can find detailed instructions and application forms on the IRCC website.

Additional benefits of spousal sponsorship:

Spousal sponsorship is a critical component of Canada’s immigration system, promoting family reunification and fostering a diverse and inclusive society.

Once sponsored individuals become permanent residents, they are eligible for all the benefits and rights enjoyed by Canadian citizens, including healthcare, education, and social services.

Extension of Open Work Permits

Notably, open work permits have already been extended for holders whose permits were set to expire between August 1 and the end of 2023.

This extension provides additional support and flexibility for individuals awaiting the processing of their permanent residency applications.


We encourage all eligible individuals to take advantage of this new policy and apply for an open work permit. This will allow you to contribute to the Canadian economy while building a brighter future for yourself and your family.

Please note

  • This is a new policy, and processing times may vary.
  • You must meet all eligibility requirements to qualify for an open work permit.
  • It is recommended to seek professional guidance from an immigration consultant if you have any questions or require assistance with your application.

The new policies introduced by IRCC underscore Canada’s commitment to fostering family unity, supporting immigrants, and creating inclusive opportunities in the Canadian workforce.

For those navigating the immigration journey, these initiatives bring hope and flexibility to build a new life in the vibrant and diverse landscape of Canada.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of, he's passionate about writing.

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