Family members of foreign nationals authorized to work in high-skilled occupations (TEER 0, 1, 2 or 3) [R205(c)(ii) – C41 and C46]– 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.

In these instructions, “officer” refers to employees of both Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency.

The instructions on this page should be reviewed in conjunction with

The Minister has designated the following categories of work for genuine family members of principal foreign nationals employed in high-skilled occupations as necessary for public policy reasons related 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, family member is defined as per paragraph R1(3) as

High-skilled occupations are considered to be in the Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) category 0,1, 2 or 3.

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To be a dependent family member, the applicant for an open work permit must be in a genuine relationship with a principal foreign national. For the dependent family member to be eligible under administrative code C41 or C46, the principal foreign national must meet all of the following:

The principal foreign national may be employed part-time for the dependent family member to qualify for this labour market impact assessment (LMIA) exemption. Although there is no standard minimum of hours required, officers have to be satisfied the principal foreign national’s wages or available 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 Occupational Classification matrix. The version of the NOC to use (that is, 2016 or 2021) is determined by the date that the dependent family member submitted their work permit application. If the open work permit application was submitted prior to November 16, 2022, then the principal foreign national’s occupation level is assessed under NOC 2016. If the open work permit was submitted on or after November 16, 2022, then the principal foreign national’s occupation category is assessed under NOC 2021.

Documentary evidence

With the application for an open work permit, the dependent family member should be providing the following:

If the principal foreign national is an open work permit holder or is authorized to work without a permit under section R186 [except paragraph R186(v or w)], the occupation skill level cannot be determined solely by means of the work permit. Occupation skill level of the principal applicant is required to ensure that the correct administrative coding and eligibility is used.

Therefore, the family member applicant must also provide the following:

Note: the principal foreign national may be on authorized leave from their employer and still be considered “employed.” For example, if the principal foreign national is on maternity leave and is expected to return to work for the same employer, they may be considered employed.

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.

Principal foreign national

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

In assessing eligibility for an open work permit, the principal foreign national continues to remain the principal parent in the family unit.

The principal foreign national cannot obtain an open work permit under the administrative codes C41, C42, C46, C47, C48 or C49 based on the dependent family member’s open work permit and occupational level.

For example, if the principal foreign national is the holder of a work permit issued based on a LMIA and the dependent spouse obtains an open work permit under LMIA exemption code C47 as the spouse of a low-skilled worker, the principal foreign national cannot quit their job under the LMIA-based work permit and obtain a work permit in the high-skilled spousal category (code C41) on the basis of their spouse’s C47 open work permit and employment in a TEER category 0, 1, 2 or 3 occupation.

Important: dependent children cannot be the principal foreign national as per the definition in subsection R1(3).

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

If officers have concerns as to the 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.

Work permit processing in the Global Case Management System (GCMS)

Mandatory association to the principal foreign national: The family member must be associated with the principal foreign national in GCMS. Association should be completed on the Client screen and not just within the application.

This is required to ensure the ability to revoke a family member work permit under public policy considerations.

Under the Application screen, officers should enter the following information in the specified fields:

Field Selection or input
Case Type 20
Province of destination


Exemption code

Spouse of high-skilled worker: C41

Child of a high-skilled worker: C46



Intended Occupation Open



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 date the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first.

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


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

User Remarks


The following remark must be added to all open work permits

Authorized to work as per applicable labour laws.


$155 work permit processing fee

$100 open work permit holder fee


Work permit applicants are required to provide biometric information and pay the biometric fee – $85

The regular biometric exemptions apply (for example, under 14 or 1 in 10 rule).

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