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Many international students studying in Canada often end up working in the country after being issued a Post-Graduation Work Permit. Many of these individuals are married and have spouses residing in their home country. It is possible for these spouses to reunite with their partners in Canada after receiving an Open Work permit.

In this guide, we will discuss how spouses of people with Post-Graduate Work Permits can apply for Open Work Permits.

  1. Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP): Awarded to international students after graduating from a Canadian College or University, typically valid for the duration of the study program, up to three years.
  2. Open Work Permit for Spouses of PGWP Holders: Allows spouses to work for any Canadian employer in any occupation without a job offer, provided the spouse has a partner with a valid PGWP.
  3. Eligibility Requirements for Spouses: Must demonstrate a genuine relationship with the PGWP holder, not be inadmissible to Canada for criminal or medical reasons, have valid temporary resident status if already in Canada, and intend to leave Canada after the Open Work Permit expires.
  4. Requirements for PGWP Holders: Should have a minimum of 6 months left on the PGWP when the spouse applies and be working in occupations falling under TEER categories 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.
  5. Documents Required for Application: Completed application form (IMM1295 or IMM5710), marriage certificate, proof of relationship documents, copy of the applicant’s passport, passport-sized photographs of the applicant, and copy of spouse’s post-graduate work permit.
  6. Application Processing Time: Varies based on the applicant’s country; for example, 21 weeks for applicants inside Canada and 8 weeks for applicants from India.
  7. Application Process: Review the application guide for the specific country, gather required documents, create an IRCC account, complete and submit application forms online, and pay processing fees.

What is the Post-Graduation Work Permit?

A Canadian Post-Graduation Work Permit is a work permit granted to international students after they graduate from a Canadian College or University. This work permit is usually valid for the same length as the student’s study program, with a maximum length of three years.

Many graduates use this work permit to gain valuable Canadian work experience and use it to apply for permanent residence through Express Entry’s Canadian Experience Class.

What is an Open Work Permit for Spouse of PGWP Holder?

An Open Work Permit is a special type of Canadian work permit that allows holders to work for any Canadian employer and in any occupation in Canada. Foreigners typically need a job offer from a Canadian employer before they can apply for one of these work permits. However, they are exempt from this requirement if they have a spouse in Canada who holds a Post-Graduation Work Permit.

People who apply for and are granted this work permit can come to Canada and be reunited with their spouses. They can then work in the country and lighten their partner’s financial burden. If the spouse receives at least one year of Canadian work experience under this work permit, they can apply for Canada PR Visa and settle in Canada.

Spousal Open Work Permit Canada

Open Work Permit for Spouse of PGWP Holder Requirements

Individuals with a PGWP spouse must meet the following special requirements to be eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit:

Have a Genuine Relationship

The PGWP holder and their spouse must show that they are in a legitimate relationship. They can do this by providing their marriage certificate and other evidence showing that they didn’t enter the relationship with the goal of getting this work permit.

Admissibility to Canada

The PGWP holder’s spouse must not be inadmissible to Canada. This includes criminal or medical inadmissibility reasons.

Legal Status in Canada

If the PGWP holder’s spouse is already residing in Canada, they must have valid temporary resident status, such as a visitor visa.

Leaving Canada After a Temporary Stay

The spouse of a PGWP holder must demonstrate that they plan to leave Canada after their Open Work Permit expires. They can do this by showing ties to their home country in the form of employment, dependent family members, and/or investments.

Spouse Open Work Permit Canada from India

Requirements for the PGWP Holder

The PGWP holder must ensure they meet the following requirements before their spouse applies for the open work permit.

Time Remaining on the PGWP

The PGWP holder should have a minimum of 6 months left on their work permit when their spouse applies for the Open Work Permit.

Occupation Type

The PGWP holder must be working in Canadian occupations that fall under TEER categories 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 when their spouse applies for the Open Work Permit.

Documents Required for the Open Work Permit Application

The following valid documents must be included with the open work permit application.

  • Completed IMM1295 or IMM5710 form, whichever is applicable
  • Marriage certificate and Other Proof of Relationship Documents
  • Copy of the applicant’s passport
  • Passport-sized photographs of the applicant
  • Copy of spouse’s Post Graduation Work Permit

The applicant will also be asked to provide biometrics such as fingerprints and photos at a later time. They may also be asked to complete a medical examination.

8 Reasons Why Your Spousal Open Work Permit Refused?

Open Work Permit Application Processing Time

Processing times for PGWP spouse Open Work Permit applications vary depending on the country the applicant is applying from. For example, applicants applying from inside Canada will experience an application processing time of 21 weeks. Those applying from a country such as India face an average application processing time of 8 weeks.

How to Apply for an OWP for Spouses of PGWP Holders?

Individuals with a PGWP spouse can apply for an Open Work Permit using the steps described below:

Review the Application Guide for Your Country

The applicant must first download and read the work permit application guide for their specific country. This will inform them which forms they must fill out and submit.

Gather the Appropriate Documents

The application guide should contain a document checklist that mentions which documents the spouse must collect and submit for their application. The applicant should start this process as soon as possible because it can take many weeks to get all these documents together.

Create an IRCC Account

The Open Work Permit applicant must then create a secure account on Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) online portal.

Complete the Forms

The Open Work Permit applicant should then fill out the application forms online before signing and dating them.

Pay the Fees and Submit the Application

The Open Work Permit applicant should then pay their processing fee for their application before submitting it. IRCC will then review the application and reach a decision.

open work permit for spouse of pgwp holder

Apply for Open Work Permit as a Spouse of PGWP Holder

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Need help?

As you can see, people can reunite with their PGWP spouses in Canada by applying for and receiving an Open Work Permit. Many couples have used this route to get valuable Canadian work experience and settle in Canada. If you’re planning to apply for a PGWP Spouse Open Work Permit, please reach out to Elaar Immigration. Our experienced Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants are familiar with this program’s application process and can help you optimize your application.

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  • md says:

    Does the PGWP holder need to do a full-time job or it would be okay if he/she does a part-time job that is 30 hours per week?

  • Obinna says:

    Please my category falls teer five

    Can my spouse be given OWP


    If yes how much is the application

    The PGWP holder must be working in Canadian occupations that fall under TEER categories 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 when their spouse applies for the Open Work Permit.

    • Kawal Sharma says:

      Hello Obinna,

      Yes, your spouse can apply for an Open Work Permit (OWP) if you, as the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holder, are working in a Canadian occupation that falls under TEER category 5. However, it’s important to note that you must be able to work in Canada for at least 6 months after the family member’s work permit application is received.

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