Sponsorship Spousal Open Work Permit – Update
Pursuant to the Ministerial Instructions issued on December 22, 2014, a Canadian Permanent Resident applicant in an In-Canada Class Common-law or Spousal Sponsorship is entitled to apply for a Canadian Open Work Permit. As Canadian sponsorship applications used to take longer to process, IRCC granted this open work permit to help the applicant stay with their family in Canada without worrying about their status, to have the ability to legally work and use the healthcare system while their sponsorship application is being processed.
Before September 2022, the Canadian spousal open work permit applications could be submitted at the same time as the sponsorship. As long as the applicant was in valid temporary status at the time the application package would be received by IRCC, they would remain in valid status until a decision would be made on either the sponsorship or the Canadian work permit application.
After Sep 2022, IRCC made online submission of sponsorship applications mandatory, as a result, there was no other option than to submit the work permit application separately after receiving the Acknowledgement of Receipt for the sponsorship application through a GCKey account. This meant that the client needed to be in valid temporary status until they would receive the Acknowledgement of Receipt for the Canadian sponsorship application to be eligible to submit the work permit application based on IRCC’s guide:
If you’re sponsoring your spouse or partner under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class, they can apply for an open work permit if Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has confirmed that their application for permanent residence is complete.
Remember that while your spouse or partner’s permanent residence application is being processed, they must
- maintain legal status as a temporary resident in Canada and
- wait for their work permit application to be approved before starting to work
- If they already have a work permit that is expiring, they can keep working as long as they maintain their status as a worker.
We have noticed much faster processing times (2-4 months) with online In-Canada class application. However, the average processing time for the online open work permit is approximately 140 days (and even more at times). This would make the application for PR being processed much earlier than the open work permit and would make the open work permit application unnecessary.
Online Work Permit Update
The PR portal that is now used to submit sponsorship applications, have had continuous changes since Sep 2022 and a recent change is the addition of the form IMM5710 which is related to the open work permit application, in the dropdown list related to additional forms that the applicant can choose to add.
This is great news for all the In-Canada class applicants as this means privileges that existed before switching to online applications might be granted earlier again. These include a possible faster processing time for the open work permit, being in valid temporary status at the time the sponsorship and the open work permit applications are submitted and to possibly receive allowance to work and receive healthcare earlier in the process.