IRCC updates eligibility requirements for Spousal Open Work Permits

By Vijay Lala


Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has implemented updates to the eligibility requirements for Spousal Open Work Permits (SOWP). As of March 19, 2024, the eligibility criteria have been refined to focus more on students in advanced degree programs and specific professional degree programs.

Key points include:

  • Eligibility for Spouses or Common-law Partners: The new regulations specify that the spouses or common-law partners of individuals holding a valid study permit and studying in master’s or doctoral degree programs, or certain professional degree programs at universities or polytechnic institutions, may be eligible for an open work permit. Eligible professional degree programs include Doctor of Dental Surgery, Bachelor of Law or Juris Doctor, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Optometry, Pharmacy, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Education, and Bachelor of Engineering​​.
  • Documentation Requirements: Applicants must provide evidence of the student’s enrollment in a qualifying program, such as a valid letter of acceptance, a proof of enrollment letter, or transcripts. Additionally, proof of the relationship to the student is required​​.
  • Prior to March 19, 2024, Requirements: Those who applied before this date had slightly different eligibility criteria, focusing on the applicant having a valid study permit and being eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), alongside being a full-time student at a recognized institution​​.

This update aims to streamline the process and ensure that only those who are genuinely eligible and in need of an open work permit can apply, emphasizing the importance of supporting spouses or common-law partners of students pursuing high-level qualifications in Canada.

For more detailed information and instructions on how to apply, you can visit the official website or consult immigration consultants for personalized advice.

By Vijay Lala

Vijay Lala is the founder and editor-in-chief of Dual master's degrees in Political Science and Economics, along with a decade of Canadian immigration research experience, have equipped him with a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of immigration law, policy research, and settlement issues. Linkedin  Twitter

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