While you wait for spousal sponsorship to be approved, you may be able to work anywhere in Canada.

Foreign citizens who are waiting for a their inland spousal or common-law sponsorship application to be approved,  can apply for an open work visa in Canada.

The Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP) is a program that allows inland sponsorship applicants to work while their immigration application is being processed.

The following are some of the most significant advantages of obtaining a SOWP:

While you wait for IRCC to make a decision on you spousal sponsorship application, you can work in Canada.

The SOWP allows spousal sponsorship applicants to remain in Canada while their immigration application is processed. A spousal sponsorship application might take up to 12 months to be processed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). During this time, foreign nationals are permitted to work in Canada under the SOWP.

Work from anywhere and avoid the LMIA process.

Unlike restricted work permits, which limit foreign nationals to working for a single employer or in a specific occupation, open work permits allow holders to work for any business in Canada.

Employers who hire SOWP holders are also exempt from obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Gain Canadian experience while working on SOWP

Adding Canadian work experience to your resume before you become a permanent resident can help support your career growth and find better jobs. Once you become a permanent residence, you will already have some work experience under your belt. Studies have proven that more Canadian work experience helps you to have higher income.

Being physically in Canada provides you with the opportunity to network, create meaningful relationships, and improve your language skills if needed.

You can live with your partner.

Spousal sponsorship applicants would have to complete the procedure outside of Canada if they didn’t have the SOWP or another type of temporary status. While their sponsorship application is pending, the SOWP makes it easier and the couples can live together.

How can you get a SOWP?

Inland sponsorship is for spouses and common-law partners who are already  in Canada. The foreign partner needs to already have temporary status in Canada such as visitor visa, work permit or a study permit.

In order to be eligible for a spousal open work permit, candidates need to meet the following requirements:

  • live at the same address as their sponsor
  • have a valid TRV in Canada or an approved application for restoration status with authorization to work.
  • submit a permanent residence application under the Spouse Common-Law Partner Class
  • be married to a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident or common-law partner who has submitted a sponsorship application on their behalf

Foreign spouses can apply for the open work permit at the same time  they submit the spousal sponsorship application or any time after they apply for permanent residence through spousal sponsorship.

If applicants have already received approval on their permanent residence application, they can apply for the SOWP online. Approval in principle means the spouse or partner has received a letter from IRCC  before passing the medical exam, stating that they meet the permanent residence eligibility requirements.

The SOWP can be extended if the IRCC decisio  has not been made before it expires. SOWP holders might have to apply to extend their permits before the expiry date.

Getting a SOWP can be a major benefit. Not only can you stay with your partner in Canada, but you can work and start building your career anywhere in Canada.

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