March 24, 2023 by Jasmine Somal
Beginning January 30, 2023, a temporary measure was introduced by Immigration Canada to counter the massive labour shortages currently being experienced by Canadian employers through the expansion of eligibility for an open work permit. As a result, some family members, such as spouses, common law partners and working-aged dependent children of most temporary foreign workers can apply for an open work permit, with some exceptions.
Please note that the temporary measure will be implemented in three phases. Currently, only Phase 1 has been made available, while the dates for Phase 2 and Phase 3 have not been released at this time. The three phases are as follows:
Phase 1: will allow family members of Temporary Foreign Workers (“TFW”) employed in a high-skilled occupation or who are working under the International Mobility Program to apply for an open work permit.
Phase 2: will potentially allow family members of TFWs who are working under the low-skilled occupation to apply for an open work permit subject to consultations.
Phase 3: will potentially allow family members of agricultural workers to apply for an open work permit subject to consultations.
Who can apply?
You may be eligible for this temporary measure if you are a family member of a principal foreign worker in Canada who is any of the following, subject to certain exceptions:
A High Skilled Worker
The foreign worker is employed in a high-skilled occupation (Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities [TEER] category 0, 1, 2 or 3 of the National Occupation Classification system) at the time of the family members’ application.
A Low Skilled Worker (not available at this time)
The foreign worker is employed in a low-skilled occupation (TEER 4 or 5 of the National Occupation Classification system) at the time of the family members’ application.
A Work Permit Holder who has applied or will apply for permanent residence through an economic immigration program
A Work Permit Holder is a foreign worker who has applied for Permanent Residence. They have one of the following:
1) They hold a work permit that was issued because they applied for permanent residence in any of the following Economic Classes:
2) They have a nomination letter from the province or a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ).
What are the requirements?
Under each of the above-mentioned categories, there are specific requirements that the principal foreign worker and the family member must meet in order to qualify for an open work permit.
Who is not eligible at this time?
Spouses and dependent children of workers in a TEER 4 or 5 job under the low-wage stream, the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Agricultural Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are not eligible to apply at this time.
You may find the stream or program the principal foreign worker has been hired under by looking at the labour market impact assessment approval letter provided by the employer.
How Can We Help?
We understand that navigating Canadian immigration can be a confusing process and we are here to help make the process simpler for you.
In order to assess whether you can immigrate to Canada, please click HERE for a free assessment.
If you have any further questions with respect to assessing whether you, your spouse or dependent children are eligible for an open work permit, or if you would like our assistance in navigating the Canadian immigration process, please contact our office to schedule an initial consult.