The eligibility criteria for spouse’s work permit in Canada

Working is essential in today’s time. The economic constraints make it a necessity for you to work. When you are staying in a foreign land, money doesn’t come cheap, so to make your ends meet, you and your spouse have to work or if you are a student and have no time to work then it falls on your spouse’s or common-law partner’s shoulder to earn the expenses. Canada allows spouse of an immigrant on temporary work visa or on student visa to work in Canada. So, what are the rules and regulations regarding work permit for spouse in Canada?

Immigrating to Canada on Work Visa- Explore getting Work Permit for Spouse in Canada !

Your spouse can get a work permit in Canada, but he/she will have to fulfill the eligibility criteria. These criteria are important as they are issued by the federal government of Canada.

The eligibility criteria for the work permit of your spouse vary, depending on your occupation. If you are a student then your spouse or common-law partner will have to suffice different eligibility criteria, but if you are going to Canada as a worker, then your spouse will need to satisfy different criteria.
Eligibility criteria for your spouse’s work permit when you are a student

If you are going to study in Canada and you need your spouse or common-law partner to get a job there, then he/she will have to acquire a work permit. To get his/her work permit, you must fall under any of these criteria:

You will need to hold a valid student permit
You should be a registered full-time student at a public post-secondary institution, such as a college or a university or collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec.
You should be a registered full-time student at a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulation as a public institution and which receives a minimum of 50% of its financing from government grants. Presently, only private college-level educational institutions qualify for this.
You should be a registered student of a Canadian private institution which is authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees.

Under this, your spouse’s work permit is valid as long as your student permit is valid. The spouses or common-law partner’s who are accompanying a foreign student can also apply for an open work permit, which allows your spouse or common-law partner to get a work permit even before he/she has a job offer.
Eligibility criteria for your spouse’s work permit when you are a worker on Temporary Work Visa

Your spouse or common-law partner who is accompanying you when you are going to Canada as a worker can also get their work permit. Here the process of getting a work permit for your spouse is similar to the one you have followed to get your work permit. You spouse has to find out whether he/she will need a work permit or not for the job they are going to apply. You can find more about this at the Canadian government’s official site.

Moreover, if your spouse has already got a job offer before leaving for Canada, then your spouse’s employer will have to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Canada Spouse Visa Highlights


6 things to consider when choosing between in-Canada and out-of-Canada spousal sponsorship

Couples wishing to apply for spousal (or common law) sponsorship are often faced with a dilemma. Should they use the in-Canada method or the out-of-Canada method? Answering this question is not always easy, as a number of factors must be considered. [Please note that, for ease of exposition, most references to ‘spouses’ in this article may be understood as meaning both spouses and common law partners.]

1. Can the foreign spouse or partner enter Canada?

This is the first thing to consider. Are the spouses currently in Canada? If the answer is no, then ask, Is the foreign spouse legally allowed to enter Canada? If the answer to that question is no, then an out-of-Canada application is the only way to go. To submit an in-Canada sponsorship application, both spouses must be currently residing in Canada. If one spouse is unable to enter Canada, then sponsorship Canada can be ruled out.

However, it should be noted that in-Canada sponsorship is not automatically ruled out when the foreign spouse is staying illegally in Canada with the Canadian spouse. Even if the foreign spouse has no status in Canada, an in-Canada sponsorship application may still be possible as long as both spouses are currently residing in Canada.

It should also be noted that even if both spouses reside in Canada, an out-of-Canada application is still possible, as a couple living in Canada can elect to have the application processed overseas.

2. Will one or both spouses be spending a significant period of time outside of Canada while the sponsorship Canada application is being processed?

If the answer is yes, then an in-Canada application may prove difficult. An in-Canada sponsorship application can be submitted if both spouses are currently residing in Canada. However, if the sponsoring spouse is spending most of his or her time living outside of Canada, say for work, then Citizenship and Immigration Canada may take the position that the couple is not actually residing in Canada. Also, if the sponsor is not regularly living with the sponsored person, and the sponsored person is living in Canada, there is a risk that CIC may take the view that the couple is not actually in a genuine relationship.

A couple should also consider whether the spouse being sponsored will have to travel overseas during the period when the sponsorship application is being processed. If that is likely, then an overseas application may be a better choice. While an out-of-Canada application can continue to be processed even if the sponsored spouse is residing overseas, an in-Canada application cannot be processed to completion if the sponsored spouse has left Canada. A short trip outside of Canada may be possible, but there is always the risk that the sponsored spouse may not be let back into Canada.

Many people mistakenly believe that the act of submitting the sponsorship application confers a special status on the sponsored spouse. This is not the case. The sponsored spouse has no special status in Canada simply from being sponsored, and only acquires permanent resident status when the sponsorship application is completed and the foreign spouse is approved for permanent residence. For this reason, a trip outside Canada during the processing of an in-Canada application is particularly risky for a foreign spouse who would otherwise require a visa to enter Canada.

However, even for a foreign spouse who would typically not require a visa to enter Canada, for example, an American spouse, there is always the risk that Canada Border Services Agency officers will refuse to allow re-entry. The fact that visas may not typically be required for citizens of a particular country to enter Canada does not guaranty that CBSA officers will permit entry to Canada for all citizens of that country.

3. What are the different processing times for in-Canada vs. out-of-Canada sponsorship applications?

In some cases overseas sponsorship applications will be much quicker than in-Canada applications. In other cases, the processing times will be about the same or even quicker for in-Canada applications. It is a good idea to check the processing times listed on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website before choosing between the in-Canada and out-of-Canada options.

When considering processing times, you must consider processing times for both first stage and second stage approvals. For the first stage, CIC is considering the application of the sponsor. When the sponsor is approved in principle, then CIC considers the application of the person being sponsored (the foreign spouse) in the second stage. While first stage processing for out-of-Canada applications is usually fairly short, second stage applications processed through certain overseas visa offices may end up languishing for months or even years.

4. Does the foreign spouse need to be able to work (in Canada) within a short period of time?

If the foreign spouse needs to be able to work within Canada in a relatively short period of time, then an in-Canada application may be the way to go. Currently, CIC has a pilot program that enables many in-Canada sponsored spouses to apply for an open work permit, and to receive that open work permit in as little as 4 months.

While this pilot program is not available to those who apply outside of Canada, it should be noted that the out-of-Canada processing time for a given country may still be relatively short. So even if the spouse wants to begin work in Canada as soon as possible, an in-Canada application is not always the best way to go.

5. Does the couple want the right to appeal? Does the couple want to avoid a “problem” visa office?

With an overseas sponsorship application, the couple maintains the right to appeal a negative decision. This right does not exist in the case of in-Canada applications. However, the spouse may still have the ability to judicially review a negative in-Canada decision.

The right to an appeal process isn’t necessarily beneficial in all circumstances, however. If an application is much more likely to be rejected if processed at a particular visa office, for example, then a couple may wish to use the in-Canada procedure. I’m not sure if there is any publicly available data on this subject, but anecdotally it appears that certain visa offices are more inclined to determine that the relationships being considered are not genuine. I suspect that the in-Canada procedure is much more accepting of relationships than is the overseas procedure when those applications are being processed through, say, the Manila or Hong Kong visa offices.

6. Is either sponsorship process even possible?

For a couple currently living overseas, the only possible application is an out-of-Canada sponsorship. However, for many couples, even an out-of-Canada sponsorship will be possible. If a sponsor cannot demonstrate an intention to reside in Canada, then that person cannot sponsor a spouse for permanent residence.

For example, consider a Canadian citizen spouse who has lived overseas for 20 years. He or she has worked and lived outside of Canada for decades and does not currently own any property in Canada. For such a Canadian citizen spouse who has been long absent from Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada would likely be concerned that there would not in fact be a real intention to reside in Canada. The purpose of sponsoring someone for permanent residence is to allow that person to live with you in Canada. If you cannot demonstrate that you intend to live in Canada, CIC will not want to grant your spouse permanent residence, as this will give your spouse access to Canadian social benefits without this person ever contributing to Canadian society or paying Canadian taxes.

If you are living overseas and considering sponsorship, you should consider re-establishing ties to Canada. Some ways to help do this are through seeking employment in Canada, purchasing a home in Canada, or visiting Canada. In you can convince CIC that you have an actual intention to reside in Canada after the sponsorship application is approved, then you stand a much greater chance of having the application approved.