Inland Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship Open Work Permit

Foreign nationals whose spouse or common-law partner sponsors them for permanent residence in Canada may be able to apply for an open work permit. The foreign national must apply for spousal sponsorship from within Canada, using the inland sponsorship process, before he or she can apply for an open work permit. In addition, foreign nationals should ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria required for the program. If they are successful in their work permit application, they will be issued an open work permit allowing them to work for multiple employers in any part of Canada while their permanent residency application is being processed. The process for applying for the spousal sponsorship open work permit varies depending on the status of the applicant in Canada and how far along their application is for permanent residency. It’s not permitted for foreign nationals to work in Canada without an appropriate work permit. Without a proper work permit, engaging in any form of employment in Canada is illegal and may jeopardize future immigration applications.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must have applied for permanent residency sponsorship through the inland stream of the spousal sponsorship program within Canada in order to be eligible for a spousal sponsorship open work permit.

If you have not submitted your sponsorship application: You can combine your sponsorship, permanent residence, and open work permit applications in one envelope. Be sure to include all supporting documentation and payment proofs for all applications. Applications should be submitted to the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga (CPC-M), Ontario.

If your permanent residence application has been submitted but not yet been approved in principle, the open work permit application can be submitted in hard copy to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville (CPC-V), Alberta.

The open work permit application may be submitted online or in hard copy to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville (CPC-V), Alberta if your permanent residence application has been approved in principle.

An approval in principle (AIP) means that an applicant’s permanent residence application has been cleared by IRCC as meeting eligibility requirements, but it has not yet been processed for medical exams and security/background checks. It can still be denied permanent residency after receiving the AIP, even if the application has successfully passed several stages of processing.

In order to submit a work permit application at the same time as a permanent residence application, a foreign national must have a valid status in Canada (visitor, student, worker, etc.). An applicant who is out of status in Canada must wait until their permanent residence application has received approval in principle before applying for a work permit.