If you and your spouse are currently in or outside of Canada and your spouse wishes to work while in Canada, then you might wonder: how can my spouse work in Canada? The question is a very good one as there are some requirements and procedures one must go through before your spouse can become able to work in Canada. It is extremely important for you and your spouse to be aware of what is required of you before applying for a work permit. Therefore, in this article, I will explain the requirements for spouses wanting to work while in Canada and the differences between a work permit and an open-work permit.
Inland Spousal Sponsorship – Work Permits
For Inland Spousal Sponsorship applications, they are processed in two stages. The first stage is when the immigration officer analyzes the Canadian partner’s ability to sponsor their spouse. If the application is approved, then the officer will proceed to analyze the foreign spouse’s admissibility to come to Canada. At this point, once the first stage has been complete, then the sponsored spouse may be eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit.
For any individual who holds an Open Work Permit, they are essentially permitted to work for any employer, anywhere in Canada. Additionally, they may also be self-employed while in Canada. The sponsored spouse may do so while they await their results for their permanent residency application which is the second stage of the spousal sponsorship.
In almost all cases, the Immigration officer will inform them ahead of time if they are able to apply for an Open Work Permit. If you have a time sensitive matter and need the application process to go faster, you also have the option of applying for an Open Work permit at the same time as applying for the permanent residency application. If you do this, then the Open Work Permit could be approved at the first stage, instead of applying at the second stage.
This strategy of applying during the first stage is extremely useful and beneficial for spouses who are already in Canada and are temporarily working. Therefore, their pending Open Work Permit application grants them ‘implied status’ and they continue working in Canada, even if their current work permit expires. They may work until they receive a decision for their Open Work Permit.
Overseas Spousal Sponsorship – Work Permits
The major difference between the Inland Spousal Sponsorship and the Overseas Spousal Sponsorship is that the Overseas Spousal Sponsorship does not guarantee an Open Work Permit after the first stage is completed. The sponsored spouse that is living outside of Canada can still apply for a work permit; however, they would have to abide by the general eligibility requirements.
Moreover, in order to be eligible to apply for a work permit, the sponsored spouse must first have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer. Most of the time, the employer must also receive a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) prior to the sponsored spouse requesting a work permit. Additionally, taking into consideration the sponsored spouse’s age, nationality, profession, language ability and education, they may also be able to apply through a program such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program and/or the Canadian Experience Class.
Any sponsored spouse who applies for a work permit should keep in mind that temporary work permits are usually given to people who intend on leaving Canada after their authorized period of stay in Canada. Therefore, if the Immigration officer suspects that the applicant is coming to Canada to stay with their partner and may not intend on leaving after their temporary work permit expires, then they may refuse the application due to the sponsored spouse not being able to demonstrate the intent on leaving Canada.
In order to prevent that outcome from happening, the sponsored spouse can address and acknowledge “dual intent.” Dual intent means that it may be possible to receive a temporary resident visa while waiting for the permanent resident application to process. If this does not successfully work and the work permit application is refused, this will not affect the permanent residency application going forward.
Other Circumstances Where a Work Permit May be Issued
If you are currently authorized to reside in Canada, for instance, you have a valid work permit or study permit, your spouse may be able to obtain a work permit in Canada. Of course, it is very important that you are still eligible to have your work and study permit before your spouse applies for a work permit. If your spouse decides to apply for a work permit, they must also have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer. Should they have this documentation, then they will be able to apply for a work permit. If their work permit application is approved, then their work permit will be valid for the same period of time as your work or study permit. In contrast, spouses of individuals who currently have a valid study permit may obtain an Open Work permit which means they do not have to have a job offer in Canada.
Contact Akrami & Associates
If you wish to work in Canada and your spouse is sponsoring you or your spouse currently has authorized status in Canada, we can help you with this process and determine which option is best for you. Determining which option you are eligible for or which option to choose from may seem complicated. Much like any other immigration application, a work permit application process can become overwhelming if done alone; therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to apply for a work permit or Open Work permit. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients work in Canada alongside their spouse. If you believe that you might be eligible, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advise.
With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!