New IRCC Temporary Policy For Spousal Open Work Permit Eligibility

Phase 1 of new temporary policy expanding eligibility for spousal open work permit will come in effect on January 30, 2023

Spousal Open Work Permit New IRCC temporary policy

Last Updated On 26 January 2023, 9:18 AM EST (Toronto Time)

Starting on January 30, 2023 – The IRCC will temporarily extend open work permit eligibility to spouses and dependent children of most work permit holders at all skill levels.

This temporary policy was initially announced by Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser on December 2, 2022.

As announced, phase 1 of this new temporary policy will now come in effect beginning January 30.

PhaseEffective Date
Phase 1 – allows family members of employees who come to Canada to apply for an open work visa through the high-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program.January 30, 2023
Phase 2 – Following consultations, the legislation will be expanded to include family members of employees from the low-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.To be decided
Phase 3 – Consultation with agricultural partners and stakeholders will be conducted to examine the practical viability of expanding the measure to cover family members of agricultural employees.To be decided

Before this temporary policy, spouses were only eligible for a spousal open work permit, if the principal applicant worked in a high-skill occupation, defined under TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3.

However, now spouses will be eligible for open work permit if the principal applicant is working in any occupation under TEER 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.

IRCC shared eligibility and ineligibility under this new spousal open work permit temporary policy as mentioned below.

Who is eligible?

Spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child of a work permit holder is eligible, if the work permit holder in Canada:

  • works in a job of any TEER (Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities) category (0 to 5), or
  • have an open work permit such as PGWP (post-graduation work permit holder) at all skill levels, or
  • are permanent resident applicant under economic class currently holding a valid work permit

Who is not eligible at this time?

Spouses and dependents of work permit holders in TEER 4 or 5 jobs are not eligible at this time, if the work permit holders are currently working:

Children qualify as dependants if they are:

  • unmarried or don’t have a common-law partner, and
  • less than 22 years of age

Children aged more than 22 years can also qualify as dependants only if they are:

  • unable to support themselves financially because of a physical or mental condition, and
  • rely on their parents for financially since before they were 22


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About Kamal Deep Singh, RCIC 612 Articles
Kamal Deep Singh, RCIC (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant) licensed by CICC (formerly known as ICCRC) with member number R708618. He brings extensive knowledge of immigration law and new changes to rapidly evolving IRCC.