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Inland Spousal/Common Law Sponsorship

Open Work Permit Pilot Program

This pilot program allows spouses and common-law partners of Canadians or Permanent Residents to be granted an open work permit while their inland sponsorship application for permanent residence is being processed.

Canadian Spousal Sponsorship is all about bringing families together. This program is a subsection of the Family Class immigration category wherein a Canadian or permanent resident may sponsor his or her spouse/common-law partner who is already in Canada for Canadian permanent residence. Inland sponsorship is a type of spousal sponsorship available to couples who are already living together in Canada where the spouse/common-law partner has temporary status in Canada, either as a worker, student, or visitor.

IRCC aims to process applications submitted through the Spousal Sponsorship program within 12 months. This program can help  lessen the consequences of a long application process by allowing the sponsored person to work for a Canadian employer, without any offer of employment. These work permits are valid for two years or until the date that the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first.

This pilot program was first introduced for a period of 12 months in December, 2014. It has been extended until July 31, 2020.

Eligibility Criteria

The following criteria must be met in order to be issued an open work permit:

  • A permanent residence application must be submitted under the Spousal/Common-Law Partner Sponsorship Immigration Program;
  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse/common-law partner has submitted a sponsorship application on their behalf;
  • The applicant must reside at the same address as the sponsor (spouse/common-law partner);
  • The applicant must have valid temporary resident status (as a visitor, student, or worker); and
  • The applicant and the sponsor must meet all eligibility requirements under spousal or common-law partner sponsorship.