Spousal Work Permits

Under the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Spousal Program, a spouse (husband, wife, same-sex partner or common-law partner*) of a skilled foreign national may qualify for a work permit that is "open" to enable the foreign national to accept employment in most occupations without the need for Canadian employers to obtain prior approval to hire (i.e. Labor Market Impact Assessment).

Who can apply for an Open Spousal Work Permit?

The foreign spouse, same-sex partner or common-law* spouse of a foreign national holding a work permit (for work in a high-skill occupation) who is employed with the University of Alberta as either a Professor, Visiting/Exchange Professor, Research Associate/Assistant, Guest Lecturer, Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Award Recipient, or who entered Canada under NAFTA provisions. Note: an Open Spousal Work Permit is not available to the foreign spouse of a Canadian.

Is an Offer of Employment required before applying for a Spousal Work Permit?

No, a spouse does not need a job offer before applying.

When can the Spouse apply for a Spousal Work Permit?

A spouse of a skilled foreign national can apply either at the same time or, after the skilled foreign national applies for a work permit. For a spousal work permit to be issued, the primary foreign national must have more than six months' left on his/her work permit.

Is an expiry date indicated on an Open Spousal Work Permit?

Yes, the permit is valid for the same period as the skilled foreign national's authorization to work in Canada.

With a Spousal Work Permit, can any type of work be accepted?

There are certain jobs which cannot be accepted without a medical examination. There are also jobs that may require licensure, registration or certification before beginning work.

For additional assistance: Contact Immigration Services

*According to Immigration regulations, same-sex/common-law partners must provide evidence of having resided in the same household for at least one year on a continuous basis. Evidence may include: jointly-held leases, jointly-owned property, joint wills, joint medical or life insurance policies, rent receipts listing both your name and your spouse's name, electricity or utilities invoices showing both your name and your spouse's name at the same address, jointly-filed income tax returns, etc.