Canada is making the spousal Open Work Permit Pilot (OWPP) a permanent program, so the spouses and common-law partners of Canadian citizens can continue to work while waiting on their Canadian permanent resident status.

The program was introduced in December 2014 and was set to expire on the 31st of July after its most recent extension. Instead of rescheduling the expiry date, Canada is now extending the pilot program until the regulatory changes have been completed to implement the program as a permanent policy.

The updated webpage from Canada’s immigration department (IRCC) said that family reunification is a “core immigration priority for the Canadian government.”

If you are interested as an individual you can reach someone who can help you apply for the Open Work Permit Pilot at [email protected]

The open work permit pilot applies to inland spousal and common-law sponsorship applicants. Inland sponsorship is for couples who are already staying together in Canada. The partner who is applying for immigration needed to already obtain temporary status in Canada as either a student, worker or visitor.

The foreign partners of Canadians can apply for OWPP any time after they have applied for Canadian permanent residence through family-class sponsorship.

Openwork permits are not tied to specific Canadian employers, meaning that they allow foreign temporary workers to work for any employer in Canada as long as they meet the occupation’s conditions and requirements.

In order to qualify for an OWPP, immigration candidates have to meet the following requirements:

  • submit a permanent residence application under the Spouse Common-Law Partner Class;
  • have a Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse who has submitted a sponsorship application on their behalf;
  • Staying at the same address as their sponsor; and
  • have a valid Canadian temporary resident status or an approved application for restoration status with authorization to work in the country.

People applying under the Openwork permit pilot can submit the work permit application at the same time as their application for Canadian permanent residence.

It is also allowed to submit the application for the OWPP separately if applicants have already lodged their application for permanent residence.

If applicants have already gotten approval in principle on their permanent residence application, they can register for the OWPP online.

Approval in principle means the partner or spouse has received a letter from IRCC declaring that they meet the permanent residence eligibility requirements, but they have not yet passed the security, medical and background checks.

People who already have the Openwork permit pilot must apply to extend their permits before they expire.

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