IRCC New Eligibility Requirements for Open Work Permit for Spouse or Partner of International Students

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has provided further details of the new eligibility requirements, effective March 19, 2024, for a spouse or common-law partner of an international student wishing to apply for an open work permit.

From that date, a spouse or common-law partner of an international student may be eligible for an open work permit if the student has a valid study permit and is studying in either

  • master’s or doctoral degree program in a university or polytechnic institution, or
  • one of the following professional degree programs at a university:
    • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS, DMD)
    • Bachelor of Law or Juris Doctor (LLB, JD, BCL)
    • Doctor of Medicine (MD)
    • Doctor of Optometry (OD)
    • Pharmacy (PharmD, BS, BSc, BPharm)
    • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)
    • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN, BSN, BNSc)
    • Bachelor of Education (B. Ed.)
    • Bachelor of Engineering (B. Eng., BE, BASc)

The spouse or partner must provide one of the following documents to prove the student’s enrolment in a degree-granting program of study:

  • valid letter of acceptance from the student’s designated learning institution (DLI)
  • a proof of enrolment letter from the DLI
  • transcripts from the current program of study.

IRCC will ask the spouse or partner to provide additional documents, such as proof of their relationship to the student.

If the spouse or common-law partner applied for an open work permit before March 19, 2024, the student must meet the following requirements:

  • They have a valid study permit.
  • They’re eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP).
  • They’re a full-time student at one of these types of schools:
    • a public post-secondary school, such as a college or university, or CEGEP in Quebec
    • a private college-level school in Quebec
    • a Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law (for example, a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree)
Erickson Insights & Analysis

Erickson Immigration Group will continue to monitor developments and share updates as more news is available. Please contact your employer or EIG attorney if you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions.