Family members of most work permit holders now eligible for an open work permit

As of January 30, 2023, family members of most foreign workers can apply for an open work permit with a few exceptions.

As announced in December 2022, IRCC is temporarily extending work permits to spouses and working-age children of principal applicants in the temporary foreign worker program (TFWP) and International Mobility Program (IMP) with the goals of combatting persisting labour shortages and enhancing the well-being, health, and financial security of workers by keeping families together and in turn, hoping that the workers will better integrate into their work environment and community.


Under this new policy, applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for a work permit:


  • Be the spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child of a work permit holder who:
  1. works in a job of any Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) category (0 to 5), or;
  2. is the principal applicant and has an open work permit (for example: post-graduation work permit holders at all skill levels).


  • Be the spouse, common-law partner or dependent child of an economic class permanent resident applicant who holds a work permit.

Families of workers in a profession under category TEER 4 or 5 under the low-wage stream of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and the Agricultural Stream of the TFWP are not eligible to apply as yet.


Until this new measure took effect, work permits were only available to the family members of principal applicants in high-skilled occupations. The measure will last for the next two years, and it is expected that this program will make it possible for the families of over 200,000 foreign workers to enter Canada’s labour force.


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