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How Long Does It Take to Process Spouse Open Work Permit?

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Canada offers numerous opportunities, different social and welfare plans and a high standard of living to immigrants and residents. It is an ideal country to settle down with family and children. Canada immigration programmes also include family sponsored visas and spouse open work permit. The spouse open work permit processing time can be reduced by following proper documentation with the help of reliable immigration consultant.

These are immigrant friendly programmes and allow permanent residents and citizens to sponsor eligible family members, including spouse, dependent children, parents and grandparents to secure permanent residency in Canada.

One of the most popular Canadian immigration gateways is Spousal Sponsorship Program. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) receive several applications every year seeking Spouse visa and work permit. Read on to know more about spouse visa and work permit in Canada.

What is a Canada Spouse (Dependent) Visa?

A sub-category of the Family Sponsorship Program, the Spousal Sponsorship Program of Canada offers Canadian permanent residents and citizens to sponsor respective spouse or common-law-partner or dependent children to secure permanent residency status in Canada.

It is important to note that the IRCC considers spouse, common-law partner or dependent children in the category of dependent of a primary applicant, who should be a permanent resident of Canada. Broadly, dependent category has two divisions -

  • Spouse or common-law partner (or conjugal partner) directly linked to primary applicant (or sponsored permanent citizen of Canada)
  • Dependent child- Children (or child) who is below 22 years of age and should be unmarried at the time of receipt of application by the IRCC under ‘dependent’ category of primary applicant

What is a Spouse Open Work Permit in Canada?

The spouse or common-law partner of the sponsor (or primary applicant) is allowed to secure a Canadian open work permit, provided applicants are residing in Canada at the time of filing and processing of sponsorship applications. The sponsored applicant or spouse can apply for an open work permit through ‘inland spousal sponsorship gateway’ after fulfilling all eligibility criteria.

After receiving a spouse open work permit, the applicants can approach various Canadian employers to get temporary jobs in any province till the time their PR is under process.

The spousal sponsorship open work permit strictly depends on applicant’s status and processing of their PR application.

What are the requirements for Spouse Open Work Permit in Canada?

  • Applicants should submit PR application as spouse or common-law partner of Canadian citizen or permanent resident (primary applicant)
  • Applicant should share address with the sponsor (primary applicant)
  • Applicant should have a temporary residency or approved application for PR status in Canada

Sponsorship Agreement for Spouse or Common-law Partner

The sponsor or primary applicant should fulfil financial needs of their spouse (or common-law partner) or dependent children. The sponsors are supposed to sign an undertaking along with sponsorship application processing. This undertaking declares that spouse or common-law partner or dependent children will not require social or financial assistance from the federal government of Canada. The duration of the sponsorship agreement depends on the age of applicant, their current relationship status with sponsor or primary applicant and their current location or residence in Canada.

The province of Quebec has some more requirements for family sponsorship gateways, which are supposed to be fulfilled by the sponsor while applying for the sponsorship for their spouse or dependent children.

What is Spouse Open Work Permit Processing Time?

Generally, the processing time of visa applications for both spouses and dependents are the same.

The estimated spousal visa application processing time is about 5-6 months, provided there is proper documentation. The probable dependent child sponsorship application processing time is around nine months.

The visa application processing includes biometric process as well as evaluation of sponsor (permanent citizen of Canada).

It must be noted that the country of residence of spouse and dependent children also play a major role in processing time. The visa application processing time is less if spouse and dependent children submit applications from their current location or (original) country of residence. It makes the processing steps hassle-free and time saving.

The technology also plays a vital role these days in capturing identity and other records of spouse and dependent children. Due to lack of advanced technology, the estimated spouse and dependent (of Canadian citizens and permanent residents) visa application processing time was around two years (or 26 months).

The spouse and dependent visa is granted by the IRCC after thorough checking of applications and status of applicants. This also helps in having smooth allocation of visas to the sponsored applicants. Sponsors, who are also citizens or permanent residents of Canada, must ensure that a set of documents should be prepared in advance in ready to submit formats in order to speed up processing and avoid cancellation of applications.

  • In case of refusal of spousal sponsorship application, the sponsors can re-apply while facilitating information and documents that resulted in refusal of application earlier.
  • The sponsors are allowed to withdraw a spousal sponsorship application at any time of processing or before receiving PR status in Canada by the sponsored applicant.
  • Unlike parent and grandparent sponsorship, there is no limit or cap on spousal sponsorship applications. The IRCC accepts spousal sponsorship applications on all working days throughout the year.

Who can be the Sponsor of a Spouse Open Work Permit Gateway or for a Spousal Sponsorship Program?

Only Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada are allowed to sponsor their spouse or common-law partner (conjugal partner). The sponsors in such cases should meet below-mentioned eligibility criteria -

  • Sponsor should be at least 18-year-old
  • Should be either resident of Canada or planning to return to Canada once their spouse or common-law partner becomes a permanent resident of Canada
  • Sponsor should be able to fulfil basic financial needs of their spouse or common-law partner at least for the duration of three years in a row after shifting to Canada
  • Sponsor must demonstrate that they are not getting any social assistance (except disability rule)

Primary applicants or sponsors, who stay in Quebec province must fulfil provincial government’s eligibility criteria for spousal sponsorship.

Sponsors must ensure that their spouses or common-law partners are not dependent on social assistance provided by the federal or provincial governments before signing an undertaking as part of immigration process. In case of spouses or common-law partners, who require social assistance or financial aid from the government, then sponsors should pay back the full amount received by the government since sponsors are legally bound to fulfill needs of their spouses or common-law partners. If sponsors are unable to pay back the full amount to the government, then they will not be permitted to sponsor another eligible family member in future till the time they pay back the entire amount to the government.

In fact, the financial support must be continued by the sponsor (primary applicants) even if their spouses or common-law partners become permanent citizens in Canada or their relationship ends or the spouse or common-law partner shifts to another country or other Canadian province for specific reasons or sponsor is facing financial concerns.

Unlike other sponsorship programs, it is not compulsory for sponsors to have a job in Canada or must have a source of minimum income. However, the IRCC required proof of sufficient funds to support spouse or common-law partner financially while signing sponsorship agreement.

The duration of this agreement or undertaking by the sponsors depends on the category of sponsorship. For instance, in case of spousal sponsorship the duration of sponsorship agreement is three years from the day the spouse or sponsored applicant receives PR status in Canada.

Requirements for Sponsor In-Canada Sponsorship Class

  • Sponsor must be living with sponsored spouse or common-law partner in Canada
  • Sponsor must have a valid immigration status in Canada
  • Sponsored candidate (or spouse) are allowed to apply to get open work permit in Canada while their sponsorship application is under process

Requirements for Family Class (Outland) Sponsorship Class

It applies to spouses or common-law partners living outside Canada. As per the rules of the Federal government of Canada, such applicants are allowed to stay in Canada till the time their applications have been fully processed. If sponsorship applications are under process, the said candidate should not travel outside or to other countries from Canada.

The sponsor under Family Class (Outland) sponsorship gateway must fulfil following requirements -

  • Sponsor’s spouse or common-law partner must be living in other countries
  • Sponsor’s must be living in Canada, while their spouse has no plans to live in Canada during the application process. The spouse (or applicant) can apply for the Canadian temporary visa to be able to join their spouse (primary applicants) while their Family Class (Outland) sponsorship application is under process.

What are Eligibility Criteria for Spousal Sponsorship Applicants?

In case of spouse or common-law partner -

  1. Should be at least 18 or above years of age
  2. Must be legally married to the sponsor (primary applicant)
  3. Must have valid marriage certificate as per the government’s rules
  4. It is important to note that simply marrying a Canadian citizen or resident does not allow the spouse to secure PR status in Canada. All married couples or people having common-law relationship status must apply for spousal sponsorship. The sponsored applicant can secure PR status in Canada only after approval of spousal sponsorship
  5. Should have clear records
  6. Should be medically fit and healthy
  7. Spouse or common-law partner or sponsored applicants are allowed to include any accompanying dependent children on their application for PR status in Canada

In case of dependent child -

  1. Children should be less than 22 years of age and should be single
  2. If children are above 22 years of age, they can avail sponsorship only if they are pursuing full-time academic programme or are financially dependent on parents from initial stages or are people with special abilities that make them dependent on parents

In case of sponsored siblings or relatives

  1. Sponsors can apply for brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces, granddaughters or grandsons (who are orphaned are single and under 18 years of age at the time of filing sponsorship application)
  2. Sponsors can apply for blood relatives after fulfilling certain immigration requirements

What are the Documents Required to Apply for a Canadian Spouse Visa?

The spousal sponsorship gateway requires the following set of documents for processing of applications -

  • Complete application forms
  • Sponsor’s proof of status in Canada
  • Marriage certificate (in case of spouse)
  • Wedding pictures and invitation card
  • Identity documents of sponsor and their spouses or dependent children
  • Police certificate and clearances from countries where spouse must have lived for last six months
  • Birth certificates or adoption records for dependent children
  • Medical certificate (in case of spousal sponsorship)
  • Digital picture of certain pixel and size of spouse and dependent children
  • Proof of deposit of payment of applicable government fees
  • Relation information and sponsorship evaluation questionnaire
  • Proof of property documents shared with spouse or common-law partner
  • Details of joint bank account with spouse (if any), IDs issued by government agencies, car insurance certificates, utility bills highlighting names of sponsor and applicant, certificates issued by income tax department are some documents required to showcase or establish relationship status
  • Photographs of accompanying members, if any
  • IELTS score card, if applicable

What is the IELTS requirement for a Canadian Spouse Visa?

The applicant or sponsored spouse or common-law partner are not required to showcase language ability either in English or French. It is only required (as per government’s rules and standards) if the applicant or sponsored spouse is willing to secure Canadian citizenship or PR status in future.

Government Fee Structure for Family Sponsored Visa, including Spouse, Common-Law Partner and Dependent Children

The government processing fees sponsorship programmes is mentioned below (in Canadian dollars):

  • Sponsorship fee - $75
  • Principal applicant processing fee - $475
  • Right of permanent residence fee - $500
  • Biometrics: $85
  • In case of dependent children, an additional $150 per child is required as a part of application process

If the sponsor stays in Quebec province or is willing to live in Quebec after receiving PR status, an additional fee of $289 CAD is required besides the above-mentioned fee structure.

Seek Guidance From Signature Visas to Successfully Secure Spousal Sponsorship Programme

One of the most notable and trustworthy immigration consultants in India, Signature Visas, facilitates holistic and apt guidance to immigration aspirants wishing to secure better opportunities in Canada. The consultant also facilitates counseling from professionals working in Canada to help candidates take informed decisions in order to carve bright careers. Call us at +91-9911659888.

By: Sonam
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