Getting to Know the Spousal Open Work Permit:

With the help of the Spousal Open Work Permit, certain temporary foreign workers and international students’ spouse or common-law partners are given the freedom to work in Canada for any employer of their choice. This open permit allows individuals flexibility and autonomy in finding employment across several industries and provinces, unlike a regular work visa, which is connected to a certain employer. The main goal of this visa is to facilitate family integration and improve their economic well-being while they are in Canada.


Eligibility for SOWP:


The applicant’s spouse’s immigration status to Canada determines whether they are eligible for a Spouse Open Work Permit (SOWP). People who have applied to be sponsored by their spouse or whose spouses are in Canada on a work or study visa may be qualified to submit a SOWP application. Depending on the kind of status the spouse holds, different requirements and eligibility criteria apply; details are provided in the table below.


Category Explanation Work Permit Applicant’s NOC Skill Level Work Permit Applicant’s Work Permit Length (Minimum)
1) Spouses and common-law partners of foreign nationals who hold a study permit The applicant can apply for a SOWP under section C42 if their spouse is enrolled in a Canadian post-graduate program. The applicant cannot apply for a SOWP if they themselves possess a study permit.          N/A         N/A
2) Spouses and common-law partners of individuals who possess a work permit or provincial nomination The applicant can apply for a SOWP under section C41 if their spouse has a work permit and/or a provincial nomination. Any NOC skill level 6 months
3) Spouses and common-law partners of foreign workers who hold a work permit under the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) The applicant can apply for a SOWP under section C41 if their spouse has applied for Canadian permanent residence and has already received a work permit while their AIP application was processing. NOC TEER 0, 1, 2 or 3 6 months
4) Spouses and common-law partners of foreign workers who hold a Quebec selection certificate (CSQ) The applicant can apply for a SOWP under section C41 if their spouse has been chosen for Quebec immigration and holds a Quebec Selection Certificate. Any NOC skill level 6 months
5) Spouses and common-law partners of individuals who possess a bridging open work permit (BOWP) The applicant can apply for a SOWP under section C41 if their spouse has a bridging open work permit. The spouse must be present in Canada, while the applicant can be located in any country. Varies based on the applicant’s program 6 months
6) Spouses and common-law partners of individuals who possess an open work permit other than the BOWP Other ways that a spouse may hold an open work permit include through the International Mobility Program, Post-Graduation Work Permit, or through a work permit issued under an immigration program like the Spousal Sponsorship program. NOC TEER 0, 1, 2 or 3 N/A
7) Spouses and common-law partners of permanent residents who have been sponsored under the Spousal Sponsorship Program The applicant can apply for a SOWP only once they receive their Acknowledgement of Receipt (AoR)          N/A          N/A


Application Requirments:


Prospective applicants who would like to apply for the SOWP Canada must meet the following Spouse Open Work Permit requirements:


  1. Resident status and remaining time for the primary foreign national TRV visa is something that we need to keep in mind before preparing and submitting an application for SOWP.When the applicant submits an application for their SOWP, the spouse who is working or studying in Canada must still have a minimum of six months left on their work permit or study permit.
  2. For the SOWP It is very important for spouse residing in Canada to have a  valid temporary resident status. 

    Candidates intending to meet the requirements of Canada’s open spouse work permit must ensure that their spouse residing in Canada has maintained their temporary resident status. For example, if the spouse is working in Canada, he must have a valid work permit. Similarly, if the spouse is studying in Canada, they must have a valid study permit.
  3. For a successful SOWP application both the applicant and the spouse in Canada must satisfy the visa officer that the relationship is genuine.

    An applicant for an Open Spouse Work Permit must demonstrate that they have a bona fide relationship. This is to prove that they are not marrying their spouse to obtain temporary residence in their country of origin. To do this, the applicant must present valid proof of their relationship as well as proof that they have lived with their partner for at least one year.
  4. Occupation Type requirement to be eligible to apply for SOWP.Applicants can apply for a SOWP if their spouse in Canada is working in occupations that fall under TEER categories 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.
    Alternatively, they can apply if their spouse holds an open work permit or has applied for permanent residence while possessing a work permit.


Documents Checklist: 


applicants who intend to complete a Spousal open work permit application must gather and submit the following documents:

Applicant’s Documents

  • A passport that is valid
  • Passport-size photographs that meet IRCC’s photo requirements
  • Proof of Employment
  • Marriage certificate or other proof of relationship documents
  • Proof that the applicant possesses sufficient funds to come to and live in Canada
  • Medical exam clearance certificate
  • Police clearance certificate

Inviter’s Documents

  • A copy of the inviter’s passport, including pages with visa stamps
  • A copy of the inviter’s study permit or work permit, where applicable
  • Enrollment confirming the inviter’s admission to a Designated Learning Institution, if applicable
  • Proof of Canadian employment, if applicable
  • Evidence of the inviter’s address in Canada
  • T4 – Tax remuneration slip
  • Bank statements for the last four months


Application Fee (SOWP):

Spousal open work permit applicants will need to pay a total of $340 as their application processing fee. This total consists of the following:

  • Processing Fee: $155
  • Open Work Permit Holder Fee: $100
  • Biometrics Fee: $85

It’s important to note that fees can change at any time, so it’s important to check the official Government of Canada website for the most up-to-date information on SOWP application fees.


Benefits of Spousal Open Work Permit:


People can get from getting SOWP in many way which includes:

  1. No LMIA required.
  2. No employer restrictions and SOWP holder can work for any employer.
  3. Validity for the SOWP will be same as the validity for spouse in Canada.
  4. Gain Canadian work experience and walk towards permanent residency.


To find out if you are eligible for a spousal open work permit contact us ASAP.


Because, We at R2 Immigration Services Inc. can defiantly help. 


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