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Family Sponsorship in Canada: Open Work Permits now also available for overseas applications

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Published on July 18, 2023 at 12:07 p.m. EDT
Updated on July 18, 2023 at 12:07 p.m. EDT


Family reunification is a cornerstone of Canada’s immigration strategy and a new measure of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aims to enable more families to be together.

Spouses, partners and relatives of permanent residents, Canadian citizens, temporary workersand students already in Canada may now be eligible for one Open work permit.

Previously, open work permits were only available to applicants through inland sponsorship, or those already living in Canada on one Visa for temporary residence permit (TRV). The new measure means that those who apply outside of Canada (outland sponsorship) are now eligible for an open work permit.

Family members are defined as spouses, common-law partners, conjugal partners and dependent children over 18 years of age.

IRCC aims to process all sponsorship applications within 12 months.

Sponsor your family for Canadian immigration

Eligibility for an open work permit

According to IRCC, family members who have valid temporary resident status, have maintained their status or are eligible for and have applied to restore their status, and have the same residential address in Canada as their sponsor when applying for an open work permit, may be eligible for an open work permit .

IRCC’s general policy states that officials may grant an open work permit to foreign nationals who meet any of the following conditions:

The foreigner is:

  • A principal applicant who has filed a permanent resident application as a spouse or common-law partner in Canada or as a spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner under the family class that has been approved for processing by IRCC
  • Have submitted a work permit application, where the validity period of the applied for work permit is a maximum of two years
  • Are the subject of a sponsorship application submitted by their Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse, common-law or common-law partner
  • Have the same residential address as their sponsor in Canada at the time of application, and
  • Have valid temporary resident status in Canada or are eligible for and have applied for restoration of status

OR

The foreigner is:

  • A dependent child who has been included as an accompanying family member in the application for a permanent residence permit
  • Have submitted a work permit application where the validity period of the work permit is a maximum of two years
  • Have the same residential address as the main applicant and their sponsor in Canada at the time of application, and
  • Have valid temporary resident status in Canada or are eligible for and have applied for restoration of status

Canada’s ongoing commitment to family reunification

The above action was announced on May 26 by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.

The introduction of open work permits for sponsoring spouses abroad came alongside other family reunification measures such as:

  • Faster processing times for temporary residence permit (TRV) for spouse applicants
  • New and dedicated processing tools for partner TRV applicants
  • Extension of open work permit for holders of open work permit expiring between August 1 and the end of 2023

Fraser said IRCC is committed to reuniting families faster and allowing them to work and support themselves faster once they are here. He said that by doing so, Canada is helping newcomers achieve their true potential, while strengthening Canada’s economy and social fabric.

Sponsor your family for Canadian immigration

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