The Government of Canada has once again extended the Open Work Permit Pilot for sponsored spouses and common-law partners who are applying for permanent residence.

In an update issued Dec. 15, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said the pilot program under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada (SCLPC) Class was being extended until Jan. 31, 2019.

“This ensures that applicants are able to work, provide for their families and contribute to the Canadian economy while waiting for their applications to be processed,” IRCC said in the update.

Spouses and common-law partners living in Canada who are sponsored by Canadian citizens or permanent residents on an application for Canadian permanent residence under the SCLPC class are eligible for an open work permit and must have valid temporary resident status, either as a visitor, student or worker, and live at the same address as their sponsor.

  • To find out if you are eligible to sponsor a spouse, common-law partner, or other family member, please complete our free online assessment today.

The Open Work Permit Pilot was launched in 2014. This latest extension is the third time the popular program has been prolonged. It had previously been extended on Dec. 7, 2016, and that extension was due to expire Dec. 21.

IRCC said extending the pilot program is in line with its Canada’s commitment to reuniting families.

“Family reunification is a key immigration priority for the Government of Canada,” IRCC said. “We recognize that when families can live and work together, their integration outcomes are improved.”

How to Obtain the Open Work Permit

Applicants submitting a new application under the Open Work Permit Pilot may submit a work permit application at the same time as your sponsorship application, along with an application for permanent residence.

Applicants who have already submitted an application for permanent residence but have not yet obtained a work permit, may submit a work permit application separately.

IRCC also states that individuals who have a work permit obtained through the pilot program must apply for work permit extension before their current permit expires.