Open Work permits are some of the most desirable work permits, as they avoid the time and expense of an LMIA while allowing the holder flexibility to work in almost any type of employment in Canada. The previous post discussed one kind of open work permit for those who graduate from a Canadian college or university, but a number of others exist. IRCC provides them for several different situations. Some permits will be limited depending on another persons status, while others can be long term and repeatedly renewed.
In a spousal sponsorship, the Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse (or common-law partner) often desires their partner to work in Canada before the application is finished processing. For both inland applications, the sponsored person can submit an open work permit application that will allow them to work in Canada while the main application is processing. As open work permits are processed much more quickly than PR, often in a few months or even less, this is a strongly desirable option, and the majority of sponsors have no issue applying for both at once. It makes sense in policy terms that partners should be able to work (and thus pay taxes), rather than waiting idly for the year or more that processing will take.
A study or work permit holder’s partner can also apply for an open work permit, if they meet certain conditions, such as the work being of a certain skill level, and the main permit holder’s permit not expiring within the next 6 months. IRCC does not provide such short term work permits, so it is advisable to apply for the open work permit as soon as possible when he first work permit is approved.
The same holds for study permits; apply for the open work permit as soon as the partner’s classes start, to obtain the maximum period of time. They must be eligible for a PGWP (see prior post).
Both of these work permit applications will require other information, such as confirming the validity of the relationship, or the submission of the sponsorship application. The former can be difficult, as IRCC requests particular evidence of a relationship in their attempts to limit immigration fraud.
Open work permits can also be provided for refugees, refugee claimants, and other protected persons and their family. As the refugee and asylum processes can be quite long, this allows them to continue working while their claims are evaluated.
Because of the wide variety of options for obtaining an open work permit, it is recommended that you speak to an experienced immigration lawyer about them.
This blog details the many legal issues among Luka's practice areas, for a general audience. None of this information is a substitute for legal advice.