• Work Permit Pilot Extended for Spouses and Common-Law Partners
  • January 11, 2018
  • Executive Summary

    The Canadian government again extended the pilot program that allows a qualifying spouse or common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to work while they await the processing of the first stage of their permanent residence application. This program has been extended once before and is now open until January 31, 2019.

    The situation

    The Canadian government has again extended the pilot program that allows the qualifying spouse or common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to work while the first stage of their permanent residence application is pending until January 31, 2019.

    Eligibility. To qualify for the program, the spouse or common-law partner:

    • Must be in a genuine spousal relationship and living with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
    • Must have filed or plan to file an application for permanent residence;
    • Must hold valid temporary resident status in Canada as a visitor, student or worker;
    • Must be in Canada when filing the work permit application; and
    • Must live at the same address as their sponsor.

    Also, the sponsor must have submitted a family-based visa application under the Spouse or Common Law Partner in Canada (SCLPC) class.

    How to apply

    Eligible spouses and common-law partners need to file an application for work permission either at the same time or after their application for permanent residence has been filed.

    • Online applications. Can be filed by foreign nationals who have already received a letter from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada stating that they meet permanent residence eligibility requirements but have not yet passed medical, security, and background checks (approval in principle).
    • Applications by mail. Can be filed by foreign nationals who are submitting their work permission application simultaneously with their sponsorship and permanent residence applications and also by foreign nationals who have already submitted applications for permanent residence but have not yet received approval in principle.

    Impact

    The extension of this pilot program allows eligible spouses and common-law partners to be able to commence work in Canada earlier, instead of waiting for the first phase of their permanent residence applications to be approved.

    Background

    This program was initially implemented on December 23, 2014 and has been extended twice already.

    The SCLPC is in line with the Canadian government’s goal to prioritize family reunification.