Spouses may work sooner while awaiting permanent residency

29 Dec 14

CANADA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Spouses and common-law partners of Canadian citizens or permanent residents may qualify for open work permits while their applications for permanent residence under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada (SCLPC) class are pending.

What does the change mean? Many spouses and common-law partners will be eligible to work in Canada much sooner than was previously possible.

  • Implementation timeframe: A one-year pilot program launched Dec. 22.
  • Visas/permits affected: Open work permits.
  • Who is affected: Spouses and common-law partners of Canadian citizens or permanent residents whose applications for permanent residence under the SCLPC class are pending.
  • Impact on processing times: Citizenship and Immigration Canada says applications by individuals covered by the pilot program will be processed within four months.
  • Business impact: The change makes it easier for spouses and common-law partners to work in Canada because they have an option that allows them to obtain a work permit while stage 1 of their application for permanent residence under the SCLPC class is pending.
  • Next steps: Applications for those who qualify for the program are now being accepted.

Background: Before the program began, spouses and common-law partners had to wait as long as 16 months for “approval in principle” of their residency applications before they could apply for work permits. The new program will allow spouses and common-law partners to begin working much sooner than was previously possible. Citizenship and Immigration Canada says it will review the pilot program after one year.

BAL Analysis: The new program benefits spouses and common-law partners who want to work in Canada while their permanent residence applications are pending. Applications for open work permits through the program will take about four months to process, compared with the previous 16-month wait before spouses and common-law partners of Canadian citizens or permanent residents could apply for open work permits. This shorter waiting period for spouses and common-law partners should make it easier for Canadian employers to retain highly skilled employees.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Canada. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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