Inland Sponsorship – Open Work Permit

The Inland Sponsorship program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor a spouse or common-law/conjugal partner for immigration, when the couple is already living together in Canada, and the sponsored person has status as a visitor, international student or temporary foreign worker.

Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) places a high value on family, and aims to process family class applications such as these with in twelve months. This length of time can create a financial hardship for the couple if the sponsored person is not able to work. For that reason, the sponsored person may apply for an open work permit that allows him or her to work for any employer in Canada, without first having a job offer. The work permit is valid for two years, or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever date is earlier. In most cases, this length of time is sufficient to cover the permanent residence application time.

The eligibility criteria for an open work permit include the following:

  • The applicant has submitted a permanent residence application under the Inland Sponsorship program, sponsored by his or her spouse or common-law/conjugal partner
  • The applicant and the sponsor live at the same address
  • The applicant must have valid temporary status as a visitor, worker or student, and he or she must have adhered to all terms and conditions that apply to their status

IRCC prefers it if the open work permit application and the permanent residence application are submitted together, but the work permit application may also be submitted at a later date.

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