Working in Canada While Being Sponsored

Posted on 15/01/2018

Spouses and Common-Law Partners Open Work Permit Pilot Project Extended Into 2019

Canada is a nation of immigrants, so for many new arrivals the news that the Government of Canada is extending the open work permit pilot project into 2019 is welcome.

In a country suffering from a labour shortage, having qualified people unable to work because of their residency status would be a shot in the foot to any sensible economic policy. The national jobless rate is at a four-decade low.

A spouse or partner who is Canadian or has permanent residence in Canada can sponsor their spouse or common law partner for permanent residence. The open work permit pilot project lets the sponsored spouse work or study in Canada while they are being sponsored, provided they are sponsored “inland.”

In a press release, the Canadian Government stated “Family reunification is a key immigration priority for the Government of Canada. We recognize that when families can live and work together, their integration outcomes are improved.” By allowing spouses/partners to gain employment and contribute to the economy and, all importantly, help provide for their families, as they wait for their permanent residence status, families will be better supported and more secure. Job security and stability is proven to help new immigrants integrate into their new country.

Those who are a common-law partners or spouses living in Canada and being sponsored under the Family Class are eligible for this program. Applicants must be residing at the same address as their sponsor and have temporary residence status  (visitor, student, worker) to stay in Canada at the time of application.

Check your eligibility before applying. Canada is a very welcoming country but there are strict conditions for residence.

If you meet the eligibility, you can submit your open work  permit and sponsorship application at the same time. Bear in mind there are fees, so ensure your details are correct and the forms are filled in correctly before submitting to the Case Processing Centre in Mississauga at the following address:

For mail:

In-Canada Sponsorship
CPC – Mississauga
P.O. Box 5040, Station B
Mississauga, ON
L5A 3A4

By courier:
Case Processing Centre – Mississauga
2 Robert Speck Parkway, Suite 300
Mississauga, ON
L4Z 1H8

(They do not accept drop offs by the public.)

If you were not eligible to apply for this work permit at the beginning but have already received a letter from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada telling you that you meet the eligibility requirements for permanent residence but are still awaiting the requisite medical, security and background checks that the Government needs to undertake for the applicant and their family, you may apply for your permit either online or by sending the completed forms, documents and fees by mail to:

CPC – Edmonton
c/0 General Station 005
55-9700 Jasper Ave NW
Edmonton, AB
T5J 4C3

For those yet to submit a sponsorship application or currently awaiting approval from the Family Class, having submitted an application for permanent residence and have not yet applied for an open work permit, you can find the application form at If you need assistance with the application, contact Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant Mary Zhang at Maxcan Immigration Services in Markham, Ontario.

These applications can be complicated so if you are unsure of whether or not you are submitting the right forms or have included the right information, seek help from an Immigration Consultant or lawyer.

The program is now extended through January 31st 2019. The IRCC said about the visa extension that it “ensures applicants are able to work, provide for their families and contribute to the Canadian economy while waiting for their applications to be processed.” The extra security and peace of mind will be a reassurance to many applicants and their families in Canada.

Learn more about sponsoring a spouse or partner.

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