December 6, 2023

Business Visa

The Business Visa Is Mightier Than Sword

Canada announces new open work permit for spousal and family class applicants

Under its plan to make it easier for permanent residents to bring their family to the country, Canada has announced a set of new measures, including a new open work permit for spousal and family class applicants.

The new measures are also expected to address labour shortages that Canada has been grappling with since the pandemic.

Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, on Friday, announced faster temporary resident visa (TRV) processing and more considerate application measures so that families can be together sooner while they wait for their permanent residence to be finalized.

Among the measures announced, the notable ones included…

  • faster temporary resident visa (TRV) processing times for spousal applicants
  • new and dedicated processing tools for spousal TRV applicants
  • a new open work permit for spousal and family class applicants
  • open work permit extensions for open work permit holders expiring between August 1 and the end of 2023

“Going forward, most of these applications will be processed within 30 days, and applicants will benefit from processing measures specific to their circumstances as spouses and dependants. Many applications have already been processed using these new tools. Within this cohort of applicants, we have seen an approval rate of 93%,” the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said in a statement.

« Back to recommendation stories

Canada has made open work permits available for spousal applicants and their dependent children who reside with their sponsor in Canada and have temporary resident status.

Spouses, partners and dependants are now able to apply for and receive an open work permit as soon as they submit a complete permanent residence application under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (SPCLC) or other family class programs.

Fraser also announced that spousal applicants, along with other open work permit holders, whose open work permits expire between August 1 and the end of 2023, will be able to extend their work permits for an additional 18 months. A similar option was recently offered to many with expiring post-graduation work permits.

Canada has been steadily improving client services and processing applications faster. In 2022, IRCC finalized more than 5.2 million applications across our multiple lines of business, resulting in millions of people getting decisions on their cases.

Since July 2022, new spousal sponsorship applicants can expect their applications to be processed within the service standard of 12 months (for 80% of cases, for non-Quebec applications).

Open work permits are available to foreign nationals in a number of different situations, but not all will be eligible for an extension through this facilitated processing measure. It will only be offered to

  • permanent residence applicants awaiting a decision on their permanent residence application and their spouses
  • family class-sponsored spouses with valid temporary resident status and their dependent children
  • spouses and common-law partners of most work permit holders and their dependent children
  • spouses and common-law partners of study permit holders

Canada issued more than 1,075,000 work permits and work permit extensions in 2022.