Open Work Permit

Canadian Immigration Regulations allow foreign spouses and common-law partners of temporary foreign workers and international students, who wish want to work in Canada to apply for an open work permit. International students may also get Open work permits on completion of their study in Canada through the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.

The holder of an open work permit can work for any employer across Canada. An open work permit is not job-specific, however, the holder of an open work permit is not allowed to work in certain areas as detailed on their work permit.

An open work permit can be issued to a foreign national only under one of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemptions.

A foreign national may apply for an open work permit outside Canada, at a port of entry or after arrival to Canada, as per program requirements.

An open work permit is a work permit that is not job-specific. Because it is not job-specific, you will not need the following when you apply for your work permit:

  • a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada; or
  • proof that an employer has submitted an offer of employment through the Employer Portal and paid the employer compliance fee.
Eligibility Requirements

There are specific requirements you need to meet depending on where you are when you apply for your work permit.

But regardless of where you apply or which type of work permit you apply for, you must:

  • prove to an officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires
  • show that you have enough money to take care of yourself and your family members during your stay in Canada and to return home
  • obey the law and have no record of criminal activity (we may ask you to give us a police clearance certificate),
  • not be a danger to Canada’s security
  • be in good health and have a medical exam, if needed
  • not plan to work for an employer listed with the status “ineligible” on the list of employers who failed to comply with the conditions
  • not plan to work for an employer who, on a regular basis, offers striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages, and
  • give the officer any other documents they ask for to prove you can enter the country
To be eligible for an Open Work Permit, the spouse or common-law partner of an international student must demonstrate that:
  • The International student is studying full-time at for a degree/diploma/certificate at a publicly-funded post-secondary educational facility; or
  • The international student has graduated; is holding a valid work permit & is working in a skilled occupation (NOC Skill level 0, A or B).
To be eligible for an open work permit, the spouse or common-law partner of a temporary foreign worker must meet the following:
  • The principal temporary foreign worker has employment in Canada that is at a managerial; professional level, or a technical/skilled tradesperson. Basically, the employment of the principal temporary foreign worker must be at a National Occupational Classification (NOC) Skill level 0, A or B. The skill level is not relevant to principal temporary foreign workers who have been nominated for permanent residence by a province (provincial nominees).
  • The principal temporary foreign worker is permitted to work in Canada for a period of at least six months.


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