Your spouse working in Canada

Spouses or common-law partners of foreign workers or foreign students, who wants to work in Canada, may apply for their own work permit. Normally, they must meet the same rules as other foreign nationals, including getting an LMIA from Employment and Social Development Canada.

However, they may be able to apply for an “open” work permit. This is a permit that will let them accept any job with any employer.

Open work permit may be an option only for spouses or common-law partners of foreign workers who are:

  • approved to work in Canada for six months or longer,
  • doing a job at Skill Level 0, A or B in the National Occupational Classification (managerial, professional, technical, skilled trades occupations)
  • Spouses or common law partners of post-graduation work permit holders may be eligible for open work permit.
  • Spouses or common-law partners of foreign workers may be eligible for an open work permit through provincial pilot project programs, which are designed to help provinces to attract certain temporary foreign workers and their spouses, common-law partners and working-age dependants.

In each case, your spouse’s permit will be valid no longer than yours.