Public policy, competitiveness and economy [R205(c)(ii) – C41, C42, C43, C44, C45] – Canadian interest – International Mobility Program

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

The following categories of work have been designated by the Minister as necessary for reasons of public policy relating to the competitiveness of Canada’s academic institutions, or economy, under subparagraph 205(c)(ii) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).

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The following categories of work for genuine spouses or common-law partners of principal foreign nationals have been designated by the Minister as necessary for reasons of public policy relating to the competitiveness of Canada’s academic institutions, or economy, under subparagraph 205(c)(ii) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).

In these instructions “spousal” refers to either common-law partner or married spouse situations.

Only spousal work has been designated by the Minister. Dependent children are not eligible for C41 or C42 open work permits.

Who are principal foreign nationals

The principal foreign national is the first foreign national of the couple who obtained a study or work permit or was deemed authorized to work under the provisions of section R186 other than under paragraph R186(w).

In assessing eligibility for a spousal open work permit, the principal foreign national continues to remain the principal in the couple.

The principal foreign national cannot obtain a spousal open work permit under the C41 or C42 category based on the dependent spouse’s spousal open work permit.

For example, if the principal foreign national is a study permit holder and the dependent spouse obtains an open work permit under LMIA exemption code C42 for spouses of study permit holders, the study permit holder can not quit schooling and obtain a work permit in the C41 spousal category on the basis of their spouse’s C42 open work permit and employment in a NOC 0, A or B occupation.

Genuine relationship

As per section R4, a foreign national shall not be considered a spouse or a common-law partner of a person if the marriage or common-law partnership

  • (a) was entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege under the Act or
  • (b) is not genuine

If officers have concerns as to genuineness of the relationship, they may request further documentation or information to confirm that the relationship between the dependent spouse or common-law partner and the principal foreign national is genuine and is not a relationship of convenience.

Documentary evidence for a spousal open work permit

With the application for a spousal open work permit, the dependent spouse or common-law partner should be providing the following:

For all spouses or common-law partners:

  • evidence of relationship (for example, marriage certificate, Declaration of common-law relationship)

For C41 category:

Principal foreign national is an open work permit holder or authorized to work without a permit under R186 [except R186(w)], the occupation skill level can not be determined solely by means of the work permit. Therefore, the spousal applicant must also provide the following:

  • a letter from the principal foreign national’s current employer confirming employment, and their occupation, with a description of duties or a copy of their employment offer or contract and
  • evidence that the principal foreign national is employed in a NOC 0, A or B occupation at the time of work permit application until a decision on the application is rendered

If officers have any concerns as to the genuineness of the proof of employment provided, they may wish to undertake an assessment to ensure this material information is genuine and does not reflect a direct misrepresentation of facts in order to appear eligible for the permit.

For C42 category:

See Documentary evidence for spouses of study permit holders for detailed evidence requirements.  In general spouses of study permit holders require:

  • Evidence that the principal foreign national holds a valid study permit
  • Evidence that the principal foreign national is enrolled in a post-graduation work permit- eligible study program and institution as described in post-graduation work permit- eligible programs and institutions
  • Evidence that the principal foreign national is actively pursuing full time studies

Officers should be satisfied that the principal foreign national continues to comply with the study permit conditions. Should officers have any concerns, they may wish to request additional information from the applicant to ensure eligibility requirements of the LMIA exemption C42 are met, or they may wish to undertake an assessment to ensure the bona fides of the material documents provided in the C42 spousal open work permit application.

Work permit processing in GCMS

Mandatory association to the principal foreign national: The spouse or common-law partner must be associated with the principal foreign national in the Global Case Management System (GCMS).

This is required to ensure the ability to revoke a spouse or common-law partner work permit under public policy considerations.

Field Selection or input
Case Type 20
Province of destination

Unknown

Note: Except for the spouse or common-law partner of a provincial nominee— then location should be restricted to the province of nomination.

LMIA exemption code

Spouse of skilled worker: C41

Spouse of full-time student: C42

Employer Open
Intended Occupation Open
NOC 9999
Duration

The open work permit may be issued for a period that ends no later than the period of authorized stay of the principal foreign national or the applicant’s passport expiry, whichever comes first.

If the principal foreign national is authorized to work without a permit under paragraph R186(u) at the time the spouse’s work permit application is submitted, the spousal application should be placed on hold until the principal foreign national’s work permit application is assessed.

Conditions Officers should ensure that instructions provided in Medical conditions to be imposed for open employer but occupation-restricted work permits are followed.
Fees

$155 work permit processing fee

$100 open work permit holder fee

[C41] General eligibility for spouses or common-law partners of skilled workers

The applicant for a spousal open work permit must be in a genuine relationship with a principal foreign national who does not hold an open work permit issued under LMIA-exemption code C41 or C42 and meets all of the following:

  • holds a valid work permit (employer-specific or open under a non-spousal category) or is authorized to work in Canada without a permit under the authority of section R186, except R186(w)
  • is authorized to work in Canada for a period of at least 6 months after the spousal open work permit application is received
  • is employed in one of the following :
    • a high-skilled occupation (NOC 0, A, or B)
    • any occupation classified as NOC 0, A, B, or C when accepted in one of the Atlantic Immigration Program streams
    • any occupation and holds a formal nomination pursuant to a federal-provincial-territorial (FPT) agreement concerning permanent residence
    • any occupation and holds a selection certificate for permanent residence as a skilled worker pursuant to the Canada-Quebec Accord
  • is physically residing or plans to physically reside in Canada while employed
  • is in a genuine relationship with the spouse or common-law partner

The principal foreign worker may be employed part-time for the spouse or common-law partner to qualify for this LMIA exemption. Although there is not a standard minimum of hours required, officers have to be satisfied the principal foreign national’s employment or funds will be sufficient to financially support themselves and their family members while they are in Canada.

Officers can assess the skill level of the principal foreign national using the National Occupation Classification matrix.

Specific eligibility requirements for principal foreign national under different permanent residence programs

Spouses or common-law partners of Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) work permit holders

The principal foreign national must be working in any occupation level in NOC 0, A, B or C, has a work permit issued under any category and approval under one of the Atlantic Immigration Program streams.

The principal foreign national’s work permit must be valid for 6 months after the spousal open work permit application is submitted. T he spousal open work permit should have a validity that matches the principal foreign national’s work permit or until the expiry of the spouse or common-law partner’s passport or travel document, whichever is earlier.

The spousal open work permit application may be submitted inside or outside of Canada. It may be submitted with or after the principal foreign national’s work permit application.

Spouses or common-law partners of Quebec selection certificate (CSQ) holders

If the principal foreign national was issued an employer-specific work permit as a CSQ holder [LMIA-exemption code A75 – Province of destination is Quebec], for any occupation skill level, a spousal open work permit may be approved.

The principal foreign national’s work permit must be valid for 6 months after the spousal open work permit application is submitted. The spousal open work permit should have a validity that matches the principal foreign national’s work permit, or until the expiry of the spouse or common-law partner’s passport or travel document, whichever is earlier.

The spousal open work permit application may be submitted inside or outside of Canada. It may be submitted with or after the principal foreign national’s work permit application.

Spouses or common-law partners of provincial nominees

If the principal foreign national is working at any occupation level, has a work permit issued under any category and has a formal nomination from a province other than Quebec.

The principal foreign national’s work permit must be valid for 6 months after the spousal open work permit application is submitted. The spousal open work permit should have a validity that matches the principal foreign national’s work permit or until the expiry of the spouse or common-law partner’s passport or travel document, whichever is earlier.

The spousal open work permit application may be submitted inside or outside of Canada. It may be submitted with or after the principal foreign nationals permit application.

Spouses or common-law partners of bridging open work permit (BOWP) holders

If the principal foreign national is an open work permit holder, the occupation skill level can not be determined solely by means of the work permit of the principal foreign national.

Important: Spouses or common-law partners of bridging open work permit holders must provide additional documentation as per the spouses of open work permit holders instruction in Documentary evidence.

If the principal foreign national has obtained a bridging open work permit (BOWP) [LMIA-exemption code A75 – Province of destination: all except Quebec), the following eligibility requirements apply:

  • All principal foreign nationals’ work permits must be valid for 6 months or longer, regardless of permanent resident category.
  • The principal foreign national must be in Canada, however the spouse or common-law partner may be inside or outside Canada.
  • Applications (BOWP and C41 WP) may be submitted together if they are both in Canada, but the C41 WP cannot be issued before the BOWP. If the spouse or common-law partner is outside Canada, they must wait until the principal foreign national obtains their BOWP to apply for the spousal open work permit.
    • For spouses or common-law partners of federal skilled worker class (FSWC) applicants, the BOWP holder must be performing work that falls within NOC skill level 0, A or B.
    • For spouses or common-law partners of provincial nominee class (PNC) applicants, the spouse or common-law partner is eligible for an open work permit for the duration of the work permit held by the principal PNC applicant, irrespective of the skill level of the principal PNC applicant’s occupation.
    • For spouses or common-law partners of federal skilled trades class (FSTC) applicants, the BOWP holder must be performing work that is within one of the skilled trade occupations in NOC skill level B.
    • For spouses or common-law partners of Canadian experience class (CEC) applicants, the BOWP holder must be performing work that falls within NOC skill level 0, A or B.
    • For spouses or common-law partners of caregiver applicants (application for permanent residence under the caring for children class or caring for people with high medical needs class received before June 18, 2019), the BOWP holder must be performing work within one of the qualifying occupations in NOC skill level 0, A or B.
    • For spouses or common-law partners of Agri-Food Pilot (AFP) applicants, the BOWP holder must be performing work that is at a level that falls within NOC skill level 0, A or B.
    • For spouses or common-law partners of Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) applicants, the spouse or common-law partner is eligible for an open work permit for the duration of the BOWP held by the principal QSW applicant, irrespective of the skill level of the principal QSW applicant’s occupation.

Spouses or common-law partners of open work permit holders other than BOWP

If the principal foreign national is the holder of an open work permit, except for an open permit issued under LMIA exemption category C41/C42, (for example, a post-graduation work permit or a working holiday work permit) and they are working in a NOC 0, A or B occupation, the spouse or common-law partner may apply for a spousal open work permit.

The spousal open work permit applicant will have to provide additional documentary evidence as per the instructions above.

[C42] Spouses or common-law partners of study permit holders

Spouses or common-law partners of certain foreign nationals who hold a study permit and study on a full-time basis in post-graduation work permit- eligible study programs and institutions may apply for an open work permit under the LMIA exemption category C42, as work designated by the Minister.

This LMIA exemption category is intended for spouses who are not, themselves, already study permit holders actively engaged in full- time studies. Allowing spouses to enter Canada and work is designed to increase the competitiveness of Canada’s academic institutions or economy in Post-graduation work permit eligible study programs and institutions

Documentary evidence for spouses of study permit holders

With the application for a spousal open work permit, the dependent spouse or common-law partner should be providing the following:

  • evidence that they are the genuine spouse or common-law partner of a study permit holder
  • evidence that the principal foreign national is attending a designated learning institution
  • evidence that the principal foreign national is actively engaged in full-time studies in a post-graduation work permit- eligible study program and institution, such as
    • a Canadian public post-secondary institution, such as a
      • college
      • trade or technical school
      • university
      • CEGEP in Quebec
    • a private post-secondary institution in Quebec that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public post-secondary institution in Quebec
    • a private or public secondary or post-secondary institution in Quebec offering qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer leading to a diploma of vocational studies (DVS) or an attestation of vocational specialization (AVS)
    • a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees (for example, a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or doctorate), but only if the study permit holder is enrolled in a study program leading to a degree as authorized by the province, which may not include all study programs offered by the private institution.

If the principal foreign national is enrolled in a private post-secondary program/institution other than those listed above, the spouse or common-law partner is not eligible for a spousal open work permit.

[C43] Post-Graduation Work Permit Program

See the instructions concerning students.

[C44] Post-doctoral fellows awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and research award recipients

The following categories of work have been designated by the Minister as necessary for reasons of public policy relating to the competitiveness of Canada’s academic institutions, or economy, under subparagraph 205(c)(ii) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).

Note: There are 2 categories of workers captured under C44: Post-doctoral fellows awarded a Doctor of Philosophy or academic award recipients.

Post-doctoral fellows holding a Ph.D. or its equivalent

Foreign nationals in this category may be appointed to a time-limited position granting a stipend or a salary to compensate for periods of teaching, advanced study and/or research. It is work designed to obtain the highest expertise possible in a particular discipline, and candidates are chosen on the basis of academic excellence.

The applicant must have completed, or be expecting to complete shortly, their doctorate and be working in a field related to that in which they earned, or are earning, their Ph.D.

Post-doctoral fellows can either be the direct recipients of an award or be offered a time-limited position to undertake research on behalf of or as part of a team of researchers. Universities vary in their methods and criteria used in assessing candidates and offering post-doctoral fellowships.

Officers should assess the offer of employment submitted through the Employer Portal, which will state the amount of remuneration and the location, nature and expected duration of the term of employment.

Occupational code

For post-doctoral fellows who are employed by a Canadian university or educational institution, the NOC code should be 4011.

For post-doctoral fellows who are employed by a Canadian entity that is not an educational institution, their field of specialty should be used. For example, a geologist with a doctorate may work as a geologist and not as a post-doctoral fellow, in which case the NOC code would be 2113.

Award recipients funded by Canadian institutions

For the purposes of the LMIA exemption C44, IRCC defines “academic award” as an award that involves research work, including remuneration, offered by a Canadian academic institution. An academic award is granted strictly on the basis of academic excellence.

Applicant criteria

  • The applicant must be the direct recipient of the award involving work and remuneration.
  • The applicant must actively contribute to and benefit a Canadian research project.
  • The applicant should demonstrate academic excellence or expertise in a field related to the particular work to be undertaken.
  • The position must reflect the experience and expertise of the applicant and the role that they will play on the project (e.g. an undergraduate student is unlikely to lead a research project on their own).
  • The applicant should have a significant role to play or value to add to the research project.
  • The applicant should hold an official position or an affiliation or registration with a credible academic or educational institution or agency in their country of citizenship or residence.
    • Credibility may be assessed by examining the mandate and capacity of the institution or agency. Is its primary function to engage in research activities and/or advance education or policy? Does it possess the capacity (e.g. resources, expertise, network) to conduct and/or support research activities? What is its source of funds (e.g. government, commercial enterprise)? What kind of reputation does the institution or agency have?

Award criteria

  • The award must be given based on merit and academic excellence.
  • The award must be the result of a competitive assessment and review process.
    • The onus is on the applicant to provide details, such as: to whom the award was open (e.g. criteria for eligibility); how the applicant came to participate in the award process (e.g. nomination, self-submission); and the criteria or process used to select the winner(s).
  • The award must not be primarily for recruitment or commercial purposes.
  • Included in this category are Global Affairs Canada (GAC) award programs, where the recipients do not qualify for a study permit and do require a work permit.

Employer criteria

  • The employer must be a credible Canadian academic or educational institution or agency, or a closely affiliated organization.
    • Credibility may be assessed by examining the mandate and capacity of the institution or agency. Is its primary function to engage in research activities and/or advance education or policy? Does it possess the capacity (e.g., resources, expertise, network) to conduct and/or support research activities? What is its source of funds (e.g., government, commercial enterprise)? What kind of reputation does the institution or agency have?
    • For institutions or agencies not on the designated learning institutions list, see also awards available to foreign students for study or research in Canada.
  • The employer must not be a commercial enterprise.

Award recipients funded by foreign institutions

Academic research award recipients who are supported by their own country or institution, and are invited by Canadian institutions to conduct research activities in Canada, may also be eligible for this exemption.

In addition, certain foreign nationals seeking to perform self-funded research may meet the definition of a business visitor and thus be eligible to work without obtaining a work permit. For foreign nationals doing self-funded research to be considered business visitors, officers must be satisfied that they meet the criteria for the business visitor category.

See the instructions concerning students for guidance.

[C45] Foreign medical (or dental) residents and medical research fellows

Medical residents

Foreign medical (or dental) residents are holders of a medical degree equivalent to that of a Canadian Medical Doctorate (e.g. MD, Doctor of Dental Surgery, Doctor of Dental Medicine) who are coming to Canada to complete a residency at a Canadian hospital or in a clinical setting as part of their medical training. The positions have a duration of about 2 to 7 years, or more, depending on the area of medical specialization.

Medical fellowship holders

Foreign medical (or dental) fellows are holders of a medical degree equivalent to that of a Canadian Medical Doctorate (e.g. MD, Doctor of Dental Surgery, Doctor of Dental Medicine) and are recognized medical specialists who have completed residency training and accept to continue specializing in some highly specific field of study to advance clinical or medical research. Fellowships typically have a duration of 1 to 2 years.

Work permit issuance

Officers at a Canadian mission abroad, at an inland office or at a port of entry will be presented with an official letter of employment from the university, written on university letterhead and signed by a senior administrator (e.g. the program manager) from the Postgraduate Medical Office, detailing the following:

  • the position being offered, including the area of specialty, if applicable
  • the length of the residency training or fellowship period (number of months), including the beginning and end dates of the residency or fellowship period
  • the work location(s) for the duration of residency or fellowship
  • the annual income offered to the foreign national, with an attestation that the wage is commensurate with that of a Canadian performing the same duties in the same location of work and that the income offered to the foreign worker is not funded by the Canadian public
  • whether the position is covered by a collective agreement and
  • whether the physician must be licensed by the provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons in order to undergo their residency or fellowship in that province

Officers may also receive a copy of the letter of eligibility for licensure from the relevant provincial College of Physicians and Surgeons, where applicable. If the foreign medical resident or fellow does not require licensure from the regulatory body, the university should indicate this in their letter of employment.

Note: In some provinces, fellows, particularly research fellows, have no patient contact. Regardless of whether contact with patients occurs, fellows, like all residents, are required to pass an immigration medical exam according to section R30.

Off-campus employment [formerly C25] now work permit exempt

As of June 1, 2014, off-campus employment for eligible students is work permit exempt pursuant to paragraphs R186(v) and (w). The exemption code C25 is no longer in use.

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