April 23, 2024 10:53 PM

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Canada Expands Eligibility of Open Work Permit to the Spouses of Open Work Permit Holders

The major announcement by Canada’s Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, will benefit spouses of Open Work Permit Holders as they become eligible for Open Work Permit (OWP). 

Foreign nationals can come to work in Canada on Open Work Permits that are not employee-specific. Standard work permits mandate foreign nationals to work for a particular employer. 

Open Work Permit holders can work anywhere in Canada for any employer.

The new step will help more foreign nationals come to Canada and become permanent residents, depending on their eligibility. Presently, Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and international students are eligible to sponsor their spouses for Open Work Permits.

Three phases of implementation

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada will roll out the new OWP program for spouses of existing OWP holders in three phases at the start of 2023.

  • High-wage stream – Spouses of OWP holders in the high-paid category, including PGWP holders.
  • Provinces and territories stream – Spouses of lower-wage workers such as IEC program OWP holders 
  • Agriculture workers – The stream will specifically target spouses of seasonal agriculture workers.  

Canada intends to welcome more immigrants

The landmark decision to allow OWP holders to sponsor their spouses for OWP shows Canada’s intentions to accept more immigrants as workers. The landmark decision to allow spouses of OWP holders to become eligible for Open Work Permits will enable 100,000 foreign nationals to come to Canada.

Canada appreciates the value of immigration to support demographic, societal, and financial aspects. The pandemic-related restrictions caused an urgent need to bring in more workers besides significantly high job vacancies, dipping unemployment rates, and a constant rise in the number of retirees.

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