Spouse Open Work Permit Canada (SOWP)
The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of family and how important it is for couples to live together. Due to this, they provide SOWP.
SOWP full form is Spousal Open Work Permit – ‘A special immigration program that allows an individual to bring in their spouse or common-law partner or a conjugal partner by availing them the beneficial opportunities to study, work and live along with them in Canada’. The Canadian Government initiated this type of work permit with a view to favoring the people who have migrated to Canada to study or work (the temporary Canadian permit holders) or the temporary residents who are awaiting their Permanent residence. You can qualify for this employment visa if your spouse is already working in Canada.
This Open Work Permit allows you to do any job that is non-specific, meaning that you will have a plethora of job opportunities you can choose from. After meeting the eligibility requirements, your decision to get the permit depends on three key factors:
- Ability to be Employed
- Financial Status
- Previous Travel History
Highlights of Spousal Open Work Permit Canada (SOWP)
- Free from LMIA or a job offer
As this program is not job-specific, one can apply for Canada spousal open work permit (SOWP) without any valid job offer.
- Freedom to accept any job offer
The SOWP holders after landing in Canada have the freedom to work anywhere in Canada under any Canadian employer.
- Option to bring in your dependent children
Your dependent children can accompany you as this permit allows such inclusion. This becomes an excellent opportunity for families to stay together in Canada.
The validity for a Spousal open work permit is as same as the validity of their partner’s study or Canadian work permit
- Support your partner with your company
Since SOWP’S validity is as same as the validity of your partner’s Canadian work permit, you can work and support your partner throughout the residing period in Canada by generating additional revenue which will strengthen your financial well-being.
- Canadian work experience builds a pathway to PR
A year of work experience in Canada invariably gets you the privilege to apply for a Canadian PR.
Who is eligible for a Spouse Open Work Permit?
Before you acquire your Open Work Permit, there are certain eligibility requirements. You are eligible if you meet the following requisites.
|Category||Principal applicant’s occupational skill level requirement||Principal applicant’s minimum work permit length|
|Spouses or common-law partners of Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) work permit holders||0, A, or B||6 months|
|Spouses or common-law partners of Quebec selection certificate (CSQ) holders||Any occupational skill level||6 months|
|Spouses or common-law partners of provincial nominees||Any occupational skill level||6 months|
|Spouses or common-law partners of bridging open work permit (BOWP) holders||Varies depending on the program the principal applicant applies under||6 months|
|Spouses or common-law partners of open work permit holders other than BOWP (incl. PGWP, IEC)||0, A, or B||N/A|
|Spouses or common-law partners of study permit holders||N/A||N/A|
|In Canada spousal/common-law sponsorship applicants||N/A||N/A|
Can my Spouse or Partner Sponsor me for an Open Work Permit?
Yes, you can sponsor your spouse for a spousal open work permit.
- The only condition is that you need to have enough funds to support your spouse financially.
- Not only this, but you also need to show that they will abide by the laws and will once their work permit ends.
Also, In order for a foreign national to apply for permanent residency sponsorship through the in-Canada stream of the spousal sponsorship program, the application must have been submitted from within Canada.
- In case the sponsorship application has not been submitted, one can submit all the sponsorship, permanent residence, and open work permit applications together in a single envelope in hard copy, including all required documents and payment proofs. These should be sent to the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga (CPC-M), Ontario.
- If the permanent residence application has been submitted but has not yet received approval in principle, one may submit the open work permit application in hard copy to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville (CPC-V), Alberta.
- Once the permanent residence application has received approval in principle, the open work permit application can be submitted online or in hard copy to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville (CPC-V), Alberta.
Approval in principle (AIP) means that a person’s permanent residency application has been assessed by IRCC to meet the eligibility requirements but is yet to undergo processing for medical exams and security/background checks. Although the application has passed through some stages of processing, the AIP does not guarantee permanent residency as it’s subject to further verifications and assessments.
To submit a work permit application alongside their permanent residency application, a foreign national must have valid status in Canada (such as visitor, student, or worker). If the applicant is out of status, they must wait for their permanent residency application to receive AIP before submitting their work permit application.
Who can Apply for Spouse Work Permit Canada?
The spouse or common-law partners of the Canadian permit holders who are currently residing in Canada or about to enter Canada through the following Canadian study or work Permits
Eligibility Requirements for Spousal Work Permit and Visa
The basic minimum requirements one has to meet to avail the SOWP are as follows:
- One must be qualified as a spouse exhibiting a true relationship with the migrant –the primary applicant who has their valid work or study permit as the case may be
- One should be free from criminal or medical inadmissibility to enter Canada
When to Apply for Spousal Work Visa Canada?
On considering the application processing time for Spousal open work permit (which takes about a month but due to pandemic this is between 3 and 5 months) and the validity of your partner’s work or study permit it is advised to apply as soon as your partner’s permit is issued on approval as the validity would be the same for your SOWP permit as well.
Document Checklist for Spousal Open Work Permit
The applicants should be aware of the documents which stand mandatory under any circumstances to apply for the spousal open work permit.
- A copy of valid passport along with Visa stamping
- A copy of the work permit or study permits as applicable.
- Letter of enrollment confirming the admission from the DLI (Designated Learning Institution)
- Proof of Employment
- Address proof
- T4 – Statement of Remuneration Paid tax slip
- Bank statements (last 4 months)
Invitee Documents (Applicant’s documents)
- A valid passport
- Recent Passport size phonograph in Canadian format
- Proof of Employment
- Proof of relationship-Marriage certificate
- Proof of sufficient funds
- Medical Clearance Certificate
- PCC-Police clearance Certificate (if applicable)
What Factors Make Me Ineligible to Sponsor a Spouse for a Spouse Open Work Permit?
The Government’s website mentions many factors for which you might be unable to sponsor your spouse for the spousal open work permit requirements. These are given below.
- If you are less than 18 years old.
- You do not intend to live in Canada after getting the PR.
- You are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident under the Canadian Indian Act.
- You have a temporary visa which is your purpose for visiting is to study or work.
- Your PR application is under process.
- You do not have enough funds to support your spouse.
- You were sponsored by your spouse less than 5 years ago to become a permanent resident.
How to Apply for a Spouse Open Work Permit?
Before you apply for a Spousal open Work Permit, review the guidance and information provided by IRCC on their official website, decide the type of spousal open work permit category you are eligible for, and contact Croyez Immigration for further assistance to avail your spousal open work permit without any obstacles thus avoiding any rejection or refusal.
What If You Have Children? Does Spousal Open Work Permit In Canada allow you to bring them to Canada?
Yes. you can bring your dependent child to Canada with the Spousal Open Work Permit in Canada. However, the eligibility criteria must be met:
- An immigration officer must be convinced that they are only temporarily living in Canada.
- Child is under 22 years old and does not have a spouse or common-law partner.
- Must prove they do not have a criminal record.
- Meet all the requirements for a temporary Canada visa.
What Are The Application Charges To Apply For an Open Work Permit For a Spouse?
There is a processing fee for different things that have to be paid for SOWP. It is given in the table below.
|Principal Applicant Processing Fee||$475|
|Right of Permanent Resident Fee (RPRF)||$500|
How To Renew Your Spousal Open Work Permit?
There is no way in which your SOWP can be renewed. This is so it is tied to the lead applicant, meaning once your permit expires, your spouses’ will too. Due to the same, you will have to reapply for the permit once the true ends.
What Are The Benefits of an Open Work Permit For Spouse?
- A Chance to Live with your Partner: The key benefit of the SOWP is living with your spouse.
- Work Anywhere: Once you get the spousal open work permit, you have the chance to work anywhere you like in whatever field of expertise you are good at.
- Opportunity to work while waiting for another application: If, for instance, your partner has applied for the PR, then they can work on this permit while waiting for this application and set up a life for their future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a spouse open work permit be extended?
Yes, you can extend your spousal open work permit before 45 days of expiry of your current permit. But it is important to be aware of the point of validity as the Spousal open work permit wholly depends on the validity of their partner’s study or Canadian work permit.
How long is a spouse's open work permit valid?
The validity for a Spousal open work permit is as same as the validity of their partner’s study or Canadian work permit.
Can I work anywhere in Canada on a spouse open work permit?
Yes, SOWP holders after landing in Canada has the freedom to work anywhere in Canada under any Canadian employer with a few limited restrictions.
Can I add my dependents on my spouse's open work permit?
Yes, on meeting the income requirements to sponsor your dependent children, you can add them along with your application for spousal open work permit.
When to apply for a spouse open work permit?
Considering the application processing time for a spousal open work permit which is between 3 and 5 months and the validity of the permit which wholly depends on the validity of your partner’s work or study permit, it is advised to apply as soon as your partner’s permit is issued on approval.
How to check your spouse open work permit application status?
You can track your application online by the following steps;
- Visit the official IRCC – Immigration-Refugees-Citizenship Canada website
- Select your application type
- View –“my submitted applications or profiles” -section
- Sign in to your account and check your application status
Incase if you seek for more information or updates regarding your application, you can raise your queries through the web form and expect a reply email from IRCC.
Can I stay in Canada if my visitor permit expires while waiting for my SOWP to process?
Yes, you are legally allowed to stay in Canada while your SOWP application is under processing but this is applicable to those who have applied for SOWP while their Visitor Visa status was active.
Who is not eligible for a PGWP?
A foreign national who is not graduated from a post-graduation work permit approved Designated Learning Institution in Canada will not be considered eligible. This means the DLI should offer PGWP-eligible programs.
When can an application be submitted?
You can submit your application for a Post-graduation work permit within 180 days of officially completing your study program, i.e. from the time on receiving your course completion certificate from the institution.
What is the processing time for an application for a PGWP?
The applicable processing time for a PGWP application is approximately 2 months.
Does a graduate with a PGWP have to remain in Canada?
Yes, a graduate with a PGWP will be eligible to stay in Canada for a maximum of 3 years depending on the study program taken. The validity depends on the duration of the study program which is usually between 1 year to a maximum of 3 years but not beyond the passport validity of the applicant.
Talk to our Experts
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