Canadian visa: Canada tightens rules on open work permits for spouses; check details here

Canada has released more details on changes to spousal open work permit (SOWP) eligibility.As of March 19, partners and spouses of international students are only eligible for a SOWP if their sponsor is enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program at a university or polytechnic institution in Canada, says CIC News.

Earlier on January 22, the department announced several changes to Canada’s international student program. One notable change is that spouses of international students enrolled in undergraduate and college programs will no longer be eligible for SOWP.

There are some exceptions for spouses or partners of undergraduate students, CIC News says. Spouses of undergraduate students enrolled in one of the following professional degree programs at a university may also apply for a SOWP:

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  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS, DMD)
  • Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor (LLB, JD, BCL)
  • Doctor of Medicine (MD)
  • Doctor of Optometry (OD)
  • Pharmacy (PharmD, BS, BSc, BPharm)
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN, BSN, BNSc)
  • Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng., BE, BASc)

Spouses and partners applying for a SOWP must provide documentation of a relationship with the student and documentation of their partner’s enrollment in a degree-granting program of study. IRCC accepts:

  • a valid Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from a Designated Educational Institution (DLI)
  • a letter of proof of IDD registration from their spouse or partner
  • transcripts from their spouse or partner’s current program

If you have already applied:

According to IRCC, those who applied for a SOWP before March 19 are still eligible if their partner:

  • Has a valid study permit.
  • Is eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
  • Is a full-time student at one of these types of schools:
  • a public post-secondary school, such as a college or university, or CEGEP in Quebec
  • a private college-level school in Quebec
  • a Canadian private school that can legally grant degrees under provincial law (for example, a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate)

These requirements are the same for current SOWP holders applying to extend their existing permit.
What if you’re not eligible?

Spouses and partners of international students who are no longer eligible for a SOWP have the option of applying for another type of work permit or a visitor visa (TRV). However, people who enter Canada as visitors are not allowed to work.

A SOWP allows individuals to work for almost any employer in Canada and serves as a mechanism to advance IRCC’s goal of promoting family reunification.

In a comment to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) on February 28, Immigration Minister Marc Miller said he was limiting SOWPs to partners and spouses of master’s and undergraduate students. doctorate to “address a challenge of volume but also challenges of integrity with which we believe that this was an exploited field and not necessarily legitimate.

Zera Carpenter

"Typical thinker. Unapologetic alcoholaholic. Internet fanatic. Pop culture advocate. Tv junkie."

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