How to Apply for Spouse Open Work Permit Canada from India?

You can apply for a Spouse Open Work Permit from India if under the following five conditions applies to you:

  • You are a spouse or common-law partner of a foreign worker who has a valid work permit to work in Canada.
  • If you are the spouse or common-law partner of an international student who has a valid study permit to study in Canada.
  • You are a spouse of someone who has applied for Canadian permanent residence through one of the immigration programs.
  • You are a spouse or common-law partner of someone who has applied to the Atlantic Immigration Program
  • If you are already in Canada and are being sponsored by your spouse, conjugal partner, or common-law partner.

Spouse Open Work Permit: An Overview

What is a Spouse Open Work Permit?

An open work permit authorizes a foreign worker to work for any valid employer throughout Canada. The main advantage of an open work permit is that your employer does not require an LMIA report from ESDC. Unlike an employer specific or closed work permit, an open work permit is not limited by a specific job and employer. Spouse Open Work Permit or SOWP is authorization given to eligible spouses of temporary workers or permanent residents, to work for any valid Canadian employer throughout the country.

Eligibility Requirements for Spouse Open Work Permit

Before applying for an open work permit, ensure that you meet the following mandatory conditions:

  • Have a valid Police Clearance Certificate (PCC)
  • Not be a threat to the Canadian society
  • Be of sound health and complete the medical exam (if required)
  • Do not intend to work with any ineligible employers.
  • Agree to submit any documents asked at the Port of Entry (POE)

Besides these general eligibility requirements, you must also meet specific qualifying conditions.

As discussed above, you can apply for a spouse open work permit under five circumstances. The eligibility requirements vary with each case. 

CASE 1: Applying for an open work permit as the spouse of a foreign worker 

In this case you can apply for an open work permit if you meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • You are a spouse or common-law partner of a high-skilled or a low-skilled foreign worker.
  • You must be in a genuine relationship with the foreign worker. This means that you must either be their spouse or a common-law partner.  
  • The foreign worker (on the basis of whom you are applying for the open work permit) must meet any one of the following conditions:
    • Already have a valid work permit (unless they are exempt)
    • Have an approval for a work permit but have not received it yet. The worker must have the POE letter of introduction or correspondence letter.
    • Are authorized to work in Canada without a work permit.
  • The work permit of the foreign worker must be valid for at least 6 months after you apply for the spouse open work permit.
  • The foreign worker must either be a high-skilled worker who is already employed or will be employed in TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3 occupations, or a low-skilled worker qualified for TEER 4 or 5 occupations.
  • The foreign worker should either already be living and working in Canada or planning to live in the country while working.

CASE 2: Applying as the spouse or common-law partner of an international student in Canada

In this case, you can apply for a spouse open work permit if:

  • You have a genuine relationship with an international or foreign student studying in Canada. This means that you should either be their spouse or common-law partner.
  • The foreign student must either be enrolled in a master’s or a doctoral program in a valid Canadian university, or
  • The foreign student should be enrolled in one of the following academic programs
    • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS, DMD)
    • Doctor of Medicine or MD
    • Doctor of Optometry or OD
    • Pharmacy (PharmD, BS, BSc, or BPharm)
    • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)
    • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
    • Bachelor of Education or BEd
    • Bachelor of Engineering (BEng, BE, BASc)
    • Bachelor of Law or Juris Doctor (LLB, JD, BCL), or
  • They should be participating in Quebec pilot program for recruiting nurses
  • They must possess a valid study permit.

CASE 3: You are a spouse of someone who has applied for Canadian permanent residence

You can apply for an Open Work Permit, if your spouse has applied for Canada PR and has included you in their application. You will become eligible to apply for spouse open work permit once their PR application passes the eligibility assessment and they receive an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR).

CASE 4: Applying for Open Work Permit as the spouse of an Atlantic Immigration Program applicant.

In this case, you should be a spouse of someone who is eligible and has applied for the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP). 

CASE 5: You are in Canada and have been sponsored as a spouse or common-law partner

In this case, you can apply for a Spouse Open Work Permit (SOWP) if:

  • You should already be living in Canada. If you are applying for an open work permit as a sponsored spouse, you cannot apply from outside Canada.
  • You must be in a genuine relationship with your significant other who is sponsoring you. 
  • You must have applied for Canada PR through family sponsorship, and should have received an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR).

Document Checklist for Spouse Open Work Permit 

  • Upload the original passport and a photocopy of the page that includes your photo.
  • Two photographs
  • Proof of education –  this includes transcripts, degrees, certificates, and diplomas.
  • Proof of work experience – submit copies of job offers, relieving letters, pay-slips, bank statements, and reference letters
  • Proof of funds – You will be required to submit income tax returns (for the past 2 years), bank statements of the last three months, etc.
  • Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) – you will need to provide the AOR if you are applying for open work permit as a spouse of Canada PR applicant.
  • Acceptance letter and proof of enrolment – This is required if you are applying for an open work permit as the spouse of a foreign student in Canada
  • Quebec Acceptance Certificate or CAQ – If you are applying as the spouse of someone who is participating in Quebec pilot program, you will need to provide CAQ.
  • Proof of spouse’s status in Canada
  • Proof of relationship with the principal applicant on the basis of which you are applying for the Spouse Open Work Permit. This includes marriage certificates.
  • Medical Exam report (if not given in the last 12 months)
  • Proof of application fee payment.

Note: All the documents must either be in English or in French. If they are in another language, they must be translated by a certified translator.

How to Apply for a Spouse Open Work Permit from India?

Applying for a Spouse Open Work Permit from India includes the following main steps:

  • Create an IRCC account with GC-Key or Sign-in Partner.
  • Initiate an application for Work Permit. You will have 60 days to complete and submit your work permit application from the date of its beginning. 
  • Answer a few questions and determine your eligibility.
  • If you are eligible, you will need to upload a list of documents, and fill out the given forms. 
  • Pay the application fee
  • Submit the complete application

Processing time and fee for Spouse Open Work Permit (SOWP)

As of 14th May 2024, the processing time for Spouse Open Work Permit is approximately 21 weeks if you are applying to work in essential occupations in healthcare and agri-food industries. For other occupations, the processing time can be longer. 

The processing fee for Spouse Open Work Permit is $340 (Canadian Dollars). This fee is broken as follows:

  • Work Permit fee – $155 
  • Biometrics fee – $85 (you will need to give biometrics if you have not given it in the last 10 years)
  • Open Work Permit Holder fee – $100

Finding work permit confusing? Call an expert at Talent Connected Worldwide and get a simplified and accurate profile assessment. 

Remember to fill out the form below for some insights and advice from our experts! 

Talent Connected Worldwide

Talent Connected Worldwide

At Talent Connected Worldwide Pvt. Ltd., we are passionate about unlocking your potential on a global scale. As your trusted immigration partner, we guide individuals and businesses through the complexities of navigating international pathways, connecting you with the opportunities and destinations that match your aspirations. With expertise in diverse visa categories, comprehensive support, and a client-centric approach, we empower you to write your next chapter – wherever your dreams may lead. Contact us today and let's embark on your journey together.

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