The recent changes introduced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to spousal open work permits (SOWP) on March 19, 2024, have significant implications for individuals seeking to work and reside in Canada alongside their partners. These changes aim to streamline the application process and expand eligibility criteria for SOWPs, particularly for spouses and partners of international students pursuing advanced degree programs in Canada.

A spousal open work permit (SOWP) serves as a valuable opportunity for spouses or partners of temporary Canadian permit holders to gain authorization to work and live in Canada. This permit allows individuals who are sponsored by their partners or whose partners hold study or work permits in Canada to seek employment and contribute to the Canadian workforce.

The eligibility requirements for SOWPs underwent notable revisions as of January 22, 2024, affecting partners and spouses of international students enrolled in undergraduate and college programs. Under these changes, individuals in such programs were deemed ineligible for SOWPs, prompting a review of the criteria governing spousal work permits.

However, the recent amendments introduced by IRCC on March 19, 2024, have expanded the scope of eligibility for SOWPs, particularly for partners and spouses of international students enrolled in master’s or doctoral degree programs in Canada. This adjustment reflects a recognition of the unique circumstances and contributions of individuals pursuing advanced studies and their spouses or partners.

To further elucidate the changes, IRCC has provided a list of professional degree programs that qualify applicants for SOWPs. These programs include Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS, DMD), Bachelor of Engineering (B. Eng., BE, BASc), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN, BSN, BNSc), Doctor of Optometry (OD), Bachelor of Education (B. Ed.), Bachelor of Law or Juris Doctor (LLB, JD, BCL), Pharmacy (PharmD, BS, BSc, BPharm), and Doctor of Medicine (MD).

Individuals seeking to apply for a spousal open work permit are required to furnish certain documents to support their application. These documents include a valid Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), proof of enrollment letter from their partner’s DLI, and transcripts from their partner’s current program. These documents serve as crucial evidence of the partner’s enrollment and academic pursuits, facilitating the processing of SOWP applications.

It is essential to note that applications received before March 19, 2024, remain eligible for consideration if the partner possesses a valid study permit and is enrolled as a full-time student in Canada. This provision ensures continuity and fairness for individuals who initiated the application process before the implementation of the recent changes.

By expanding eligibility criteria and streamlining application procedures, Canada aims to enhance the attractiveness of its immigration system and provide opportunities for families to thrive together in the country’s diverse and welcoming environment.

If you are looking to Study, Work, Visit or Migrate to Canada, talk to I Can Help Immigration Services, at +1 778 239 7861 with RCIC # R413239, Canada’s No.1 Immigration & Visa Company to get the best help you need.