Canada has extended open work permit pilot for spouses and conjugal partners until the policy can be made permanent. The July 30 announcement comes as Ottawa waits for regulatory changes have been finalized to permanently implement this policy.

Open work permit pilot is a program which allows the foreign spouses and common law partners to work in Canada while waiting for their permanent residence status in Canada. This program commenced in December 2k14 and it was going to expire on July 31 after its most recent extension. Despite setting another expiry date, Canadian government is now extending the program until the regulatory changes have been completed to implement the pilot as permanent policy. Under this pilot program, applicants may apply for an open work permit with, or any time after, the submission of their application for permanent residence in the SCLPC class (spouse or common-law partner in Canada).

IRCC said that family reunification is the core immigration priority for the government of Canada.

An open work permit pilot program applies to inland spousal and common in law sponsorship applicants. Inland sponsorship is for those couples who are already residing together in Canada. The partner who is applying for immigration requires to already having temporary status in Canada as a worker, student, or visitor.

Time after applied for permanent residence through family-class sponsorship, the foreign spouse of Canadians can apply for the open work permit any time.

Open work permits are not tied to specific employers, means that they allow foreign workers to work for any employer in Canada so long as they meet the occupation’s qualifications.

Eligibility to apply for open work permit pilot program:

If the candidate meets the following requirements, the officer will issue an open work permit to SCLPC class applicants:

  1. Complete permanent residence application has been submitted under SCLPC class and is in present is being processed or has been received by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada for processing.
  2. Application is submitted on the basis of the spouse who is permanent resident and citizen of Canada.
  3. SCLPC class applicant resides with the same address as the sponsor.
  4. SCLPC class applicant has valid temporary resident status or their application for restoration of status with authorization to work has been received and the officer is satisfied that the SCLPC class applicant is eligible for restoration.

Candidates who are not eligible for open work permit pilot program:

  1. Applicants who have applied for permanent residence and under SCLPC class and have been refused or withdraw their application before submitting the open work permit pilot application.
  2. Applicants whose application for permanent residence is being processed under the spousal public policy (subcategory “PP” in the Global Case Management System [GCMS]) on the basis that they do not have a valid temporary resident status (these applicants must wait until they receive approval in principle to be eligible to apply for an open work permit)
  3. Applicants who have applied as members of the overseas family class, including those living in Canada
  4. Applicants applying for the work permit pilot program at a port of entry.

It is also okay to submit the application for the Open work permit pilot program separately if applicants have already submitted their application for permanent residence. If applicants have already received approval in principle on their permanent residence application, they can apply for open work permit pilot program online. Approval in principle means the spouse or common law partner has received a letter from IRCC stating that they meet the permanent residence eligibility requirements, but they have not yet passed the medical, security, and background checks.

Candidates who already have the Open work permit pilot program must apply to extend their permits before they expire.


It is amazing that IRCC plans to enforce this Pilot Program permanently, because it allows eligible applicants under the SCLPC to potentially obtain authorization to work while they are waiting for a final decision on their Permanent Residence applications. This is imperative now more than ever as IRCC suggests that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and associated service disruptions mean IRCC is not able to process applications normally, which may result in longer than normal processing times. If you have any query about your eligibility for the Open Work Pilot Program, feel free to contact CWC to schedule a consultation. CWC is the leading and prominent visa consultant. We are an above the board immigration consultants delivering our services in an ethical way in various countries such as India, Canada and Dubai. We have track record in highest visa success rate. We have team of dedicated and experienced members. We are offering our services from more than a decade. We are the legend in providing immigration services.