October 8, 2021

Canada Tightens Requirements for Foreign National Spousal Open Work Permit Applications

The requirements for category C-41 and C-42 Spousal Open Work Permits remain generally the same, however the IRCC has clarified these and included additional specific requirements:

    • Proof of genuine relationship with the principal foreign national applicant:

      The applicant for the SOWP must provide additional documents proving the genuine spousal relationship with the foreign national worker or student in Canada. The relationship cannot have been started with the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege under Canadian laws.

      An applicant will be considered a “spouse” if they are in a marriage or are common law partners (living together in a conjugal relationship for a minimum of 1 year) with the principal foreign national.

      The principal foreign national is the first individual of the couple to obtain a work or study permit in Canada. They must retain their status as the principal applicant for the duration of the stay and cannot subsequently obtain a SOWP based on their spouses SOWP.
    • Minimum duration of principal foreign national’s work authorisation:

      There must be remaining at least 6 months validity on the work permit of the principal when the IRCC receive the SOWP application
    • Spouses of study permit holders (C-42):

      Individuals must now also provide additional documentation proving that they are the genuine spouse of a study permit holder and that the principal foreign national is attending a designated learning institute in Canada

For further information on requirements for the spousal categories C-41 and C-42, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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