Work Visa

The Open Work Permit Advantage

Under Canadian immigration regulations, foreign spouses and common-law partners of temporary foreign workers and foreign students, who themselves want to work in Canada, will need an open work permit.

  • Open work permits are also available through the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program for international students.
  • In addition, a pilot program introduced in December, 2014, allows spouses and common-law partners being sponsored through the Inland Spousal/Common-Law Partner Sponsorship Category of the Family Class to be granted an open work permit while the application for permanent residence is being processed.
  • The holder of an open work permit can work for any Canadian employer, without first having a confirmed offer of employment. An open work permit is not job-specific.

Under Canada immigration regulations, open work permits may be applied for by:

  • the spouses or common-law partners of foreign temporary workers;
  • the spouses or common-law partners of foreign students;
  • international students who have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution.

To be eligible for an open work permit, graduating international students must meet the requirements under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.

To be eligible for an open work permit, the spouse or common-law partner of a foreign temporary worker must demonstrate that:

  • The principal temporary foreign worker has employment in Canada that is at a management level, or a job in a professional occupation, or as a technical or skilled tradesperson. In other words, the skill level of the principal temporary foreign worker’s job must be level 0, A or B, according to the National Occupational Classification (NOC). This skill level requirement does not apply to principal temporary foreign workers who have been nominated for permanent residence by a province (provincial nominees).
  • The principal temporary foreign worker is permitted to work in Canada for a period of at least six months.

To be eligible for an Open Work Permit, the spouse or common-law partner of a foreign student cannot themselves be full-time students and must demonstrate that:

  • The foreign student is studying full-time at a diploma/degree-granting, publicly-funded post-secondary educational facility; or
  • The foreign student has graduated and is the holder of a valid work permit for a job related to his or her studies.

For spouses and common-law partners, open work permits are generally issued with a validity date that coincides with the period of time that their spouse is permitted to work or study in Canada, as the case may be.