Open Work Permit Advantage

An Open Work Permit will allow the spouse or common-law partner of temporary foreign workers and students in Canada to come to Canada and work for the employer of their choice.

On December 2014, the open work permit pilot program was launched by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), allowing spouses and common-law partners to be sponsored through the Inland Spousal/Common-Law Partner Sponsorship Program under the family class. Successful applicants will be able to come to Canada under an open work permit while the application for permanent residency of the sponsor is under process. The person, through the open work permit, can work for any Canadian employer anywhere in Canada. To know more about open work permits under the Inland Spousal/Common-Law Partner Sponsorship Program, click here.

The following category of persons are eligible to apply for an open work permit:

  • Spouse or common-law partners of foreign temporary workers;
  • Spouse or common-law partners of foreign (non-Canadian) students;
  • International students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution. See our Post-Graduation Work Permit section.

The advantage of having an open work permit is that the person need not have a job offer from a Canadian employer to come to Canada, or, to work anywhere in Canada. Below are the key features of an open work permit:

  • The person can come to Canada without a job offer;
  • The person can work for any Canadian employer;
  • The person can work anywhere in Canada – there are no geographic restrictions.

Spouse or common-law partner of foreign temporary workers

The spouse or common-law partner of foreign temporary workers are eligible to secure an open work permit and come to Canada. To be eligible:

  • The foreign temporary worker must we working in Canada under one of the skilled occupations that falls under skills type/level as defined by the National Occupation Classification (NOC) of Canada:
  • Skill level 0 (Managerial occupations)
  • Skill level A (Professional occupations)
  • Skill level B (Technical occupations)
  • The temporary foreign worker must have been allowed to perform paid work in Canada for a period of at least 6 months;
  • The Skill level requirements mentioned above does not apply if the foreign temporary worker has been nominated by a Canadian province for permanent residency.

Note1: International students after the completion of their study, may choose to apply for an open work permit. To learn more about Post-Graduation work permits, click here.

Note2: Persons who take part in the International Experience Canada Programs are also eligible to apply for an open work permit. To learn more about open work permits under the International Experience Canada program, click here.

Spouse or common-law partner of foreign students

The spouse or common-law partner of foreign (international) students are eligible to secure an open work permit and come to Canada. To be eligible:

  • The spouse or common-law partner of the foreign student cannot themselves be full-time students in Canada;
  • The foreign student must be studying in a degree or diploma granting participating Canadian education institution;
  • The course taken by the foreign student must be a post-secondary credential, and the institution where the course is taken should be a publicly funded institution;
  • The foreign student has already graduated from a Canadian educational institution, and is a holder of a valid work permit which permits him or her to work in job related to his or her studies.
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