The Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP) is a type of work permit that allows the spouses or common-law partners of temporary foreign workers or full-time students to work in Canada. The SOWP is “open,” meaning it is not restricted to a specific employer.
To be eligible for a SOWP, the spouse or common-law partner must be:
- At least 18 years old
- Living in Canada
- The spouse or common-law partner of a foreign temporary worker who holds a valid work permit for a job in Canada that is classified as NOC Teer 0,1,2,3 according to the National Occupational Classification, or a foreign student who is studying full-time at a designated learning institution (DLI)
The application process for a SOWP involves:
- Gathering necessary documents: This includes proof of relationship to the temporary foreign worker or student, proof of the worker’s or student’s status in Canada, and any other documents required by the IRCC.
- Completing the application: The application can be completed online or on paper, depending on the applicant’s preference and situation.
- Paying the application fees: These fees include the processing fee and the open work permit holder fee.
- Submitting the application: The completed application and all necessary documents must be submitted to the IRCC.
A spousal open work permit application can also be submitted along with a inland spousal sponsorship application for permanent residence.
Open Work Permits That Do Not Require an LMIA
In addition to the SOWP, there are other types of open work permits that do not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). An LMIA is a document that an employer in Canada may need to get before hiring a foreign worker.
Types of LMIA-exempt Open Work Permits
- International Experience Canada (IEC) Work Permit: This permit allows young people from 33 countries that have a bilateral youth mobility agreement with Canada to work in Canada. Eligibility requirements vary by country.
- Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP): This permit allows international students who have completed a program of study at a designated learning institution in Canada to work in Canada. The length of the work permit depends on the length of the program completed.
- Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP): This permit allows certain foreign workers in Canada to keep working while they wait for the results of their permanent residence application.
- Intra-Company Transferee (ICT) Work Permit: This permit allows international companies to temporarily transfer qualified foreign workers to Canada for work purposes.
The application process for these permits is similar to the process for the SOWP, but the specific requirements and documents needed may vary. Applicants should check the IRCC website or consult with an immigration consultant for the most accurate and up-to-date information.