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You may be able to work anywhere in Canada while waiting for spousal sponsorship approval

The SOWP allows spousal sponsorship applicants to remain in Canada while their immigration application is processed. A spousal sponsorship application can take up to 12 months to be processed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). During this time, foreign nationals are permitted to work in Canada under the SOWP.

Work anywhere and avoid the LMIA.

As opposed to closed work permits that only allow foreign nationals to work for one employer or in one type of occupation, open work permits allow holders the freedom to do any job for any employer in Canada.

Employers who hire SOWP holders are also exempt from obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Live with your spouse.

Spousal sponsorship applicants would have to complete the process outside of Canada if they didn’t have the SOWP or another form of temporary status. While their sponsorship application is pending, the SOWP makes it easier for couples to live together.

Acquire some Canadian experience

Getting work experience in Canada before becoming a permanent resident can help you advance your career in Canada. You will already have some work experience if you are granted permanent residence. According to studies, having more work experience in Canada leads to greater salaries.

Sponsorship candidates must meet the following standards in order to get a spousal open work permit:

Eligibility for the SOWP

  • Submit a permanent residence application under the Spouse Common-Law Partner Class;
  • Have a Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse or common-law partner who has submitted a sponsorship application on their behalf; 
  • Live at the same address as their sponsor; 
  • and have valid temporary resident status in Canada or an approved application for restoration status with authorization to work.

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