In an era of globalization and international mobility, Canada has consistently stood out for its welcoming attitude toward immigrants. Central to its immigration strategy is the vital principle of family reunification, which has received a renewed focus through a recent initiative by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 


This measure seeks to bolster family unity by enabling more families to come together within the Canadian borders. The heart of this initiative lies in the provision of Open Work Permits for spouses, partners, and dependents of various categories of individuals already residing in Canada.




Previously, the availability of open work permits was confined to applicants under inland sponsorship or those with an existing presence in Canada through a Temporary Residence Visa (TRV). However, the new measure broadens the eligibility criteria, encompassing applicants from outside Canada as well. 


This monumental shift means that family members, including spouses, common-law partners, conjugal partners, and dependent children over 18 years old, can now apply for open work permits irrespective of their geographical location.


  • One of the significant aspects of this initiative is the timely processing of spousal sponsorship applications. 
  • IRCC has set an ambitious goal of processing all such applications within 12 months. 


This endeavor speaks volumes about Canada’s commitment to expediting the reunification of families and ensuring their smoother integration into Canadian society.


The eligibility criteria for open work permits under this measure are outlined with precision by IRCC. Family members who maintain valid temporary resident status and share the same residential address as their sponsor in Canada at the time of application may qualify for an open work permit. 

The IRCC’s public policy further outlines the conditions under which foreign nationals could be granted open work permits:


  1. Principal Applicants: Foreign nationals who have submitted permanent residence applications as a spouse or common-law partner in Canada, have submitted a work permit application not exceeding two years, and are subjects of a sponsorship application by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse or partner.


  1. Dependent Children: Children included in permanent residence applications as accompanying family members, seeking a work permit not exceeding two years.


The introduction of open work permits for outland spousal sponsorship aligns with Canada’s broader family reunification efforts. In tandem with this, other measures have been rolled out, such as:


  • Expediting the processing times for spousal Temporary Resident Visas (TRVs)
  • Furnishing spousal TRV applicants with dedicated processing tools


Additionally, open work permit extensions have been granted for those with permits expiring between August 1st and the end of 2023, allowing families to sustain themselves while navigating their settlement process.


  • Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, who announced these measures on May 26, affirmed IRCC’s dedication to swift family reunification and the empowerment of newcomers. 
  • The initiative aligns with Canada’s ethos of nurturing the potential of immigrants while enhancing the nation’s economy and social fabric. 


By allowing families to come together and facilitating their ability to work and support themselves, Canada is not only living up to its reputation as an inclusive and compassionate nation but also taking concrete steps to enrich its cultural tapestry.


In conclusion, Canada’s commitment to family reunification is more resolute than ever in 2023. The expansion of open work permits for spouses, partners, and dependents, both in and outland, reflects a profound effort by IRCC to foster family unity within its borders.


This initiative, accompanied by complementary measures, and aided by Akkam Overseas available knowledge for applicants, showcases Canada’s dedication to the well-being of newcomers and the broader society. As families are reunited and given the means to contribute to the nation’s growth, Canada emerges as a beacon of hope and opportunity for those seeking a better future on its welcoming shores.