Canada Offers Open Work Permits To Certain Spouses Of Canadian Citizens And Residents As They Await Permanent Residence

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The changes, which came into effect last week, allow the spouses and common-law partners of Canadian citizens and permanent residents currently residing in Canada to benefit from expedited access to open work permits while their applications for permanent residence are being processed.

These modifications to the SCLPC fall under a one-year pilot program that aims to give residents-to-be the means to sustain themselves and their families in Canada during the Canadian immigration process.

“[The pilot program] will allow spouses being sponsored under the Inland Spousal Sponsorship program to receive their work permits much sooner while we process their applications,” stated Kevin Ménard, a spokesman for the federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Chris Alexander.

Eligible applicants will now be able to apply for an open work permit before the approval in principle decision is made on their application for permanent residence in Canada. If an SCLPC applicant has already received approval in principle, he or she then has the option of applying for an open work permit online. SCLPC applicants whose permanent resident applications are received after December 22, 2014 will have their application for an open work permit processed within four months of receipt of their work permit application.

An open work permit allows applicants to work for any employer for a specified period of time while their permanent residence applications are processed.

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Faith Nouri is licensed to practice law in both the U.S. and Canadian Federal Courts. Ms. Nouri is an attorney at law in California, and a Barrister & Solicitor in British Columbia, Canada.