Spouses and common-law partners of study permit holders – [R205(c)(ii) – C42]– 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 designated the following categories of work for genuine spouses or common law partners of principal foreign nationals who hold valid study permits and are enrolled full time in post-graduation work permit eligible studies, 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).
This International Mobility Program (IMP) work permit category is intended for spouses who are not, themselves, already study permit holders actively engaged in full time studies. The reasons for allowing spouses to enter Canada and work is to increase the competitiveness of Canada’s academic institutions or economy in post graduation work permit-eligible study programs and institutions.
In these instructions, “spousal” refers to either common-law partner or married spouse situations.
Important: Only spousal work has been designated by the Minister. Dependent children are not eligible for open work permits under administrative code C42.
On this page:
- Documentary evidence
- Application assessment
To be a dependent spouse or common-law partner, the applicant for an open work permit must be in a genuine relationship with a principal foreign national. For the applicant to be eligible under administrative code C42, the principal foreign national must meet all of the following:
- hold a valid study permit or be provisionally approved for a study permit (if applying as a family group outside of Canada)
- be studying on a full-time basis or intending to enroll in full-time courses, at a designated learning institution
- be accepted by or enrolled in a post-graduation work permit-eligible study program and institution
- be physically residing or plan to physically reside in Canada while studying
Important: For clarity, only spouses or common law partners of study permit holders studying at PGWP-eligible institutions and in PGWP-eligible programs are eligible for an open work permit. Their dependent children are not eligible to apply for an open work permit.
Family members of study permit holders studying at non PGWP-eligible institutions or in non PGWP-eligible programs are not eligible for an open work permit under this category.
With the application for a spousal open work permit, officers should be satisfied that they have the following documentary evidence to make an assessment:
- evidence that the applicant is the genuine spouse or common-law partner of a valid study permit holder (for example, marriage certificate or Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union - IMM 5409)
- evidence that the principal foreign national is attending a designated learning institution (DLI)
- 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
- trade or technical school
- 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
- a Canadian public post-secondary institution, such as a
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.
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 administrative code C42 are met, or they may wish to undertake an assessment to ensure the bona fides of the material documents provided in the spousal open work permit application.
Officers must be satisfied that all eligibility requirements are met at the time of decision on the family member work permit application.
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.
If officers have any concerns as to the genuineness of documents 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 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 paragraphs R186(v or 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, C42, C47 or C49 administrative codes based on the dependent spouse’s spousal open work permit and TEER category.
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 cannot 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.
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
- was entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege under the Act; or
- is not genuine
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.
The work permit will be issued under the authority of R205(c)(ii).
In the Global Case Management System (GCMS) under the Application screen, officers should enter the information below in the specified fields
|Selection or input
|Province of destination
Spouse of full-time student: C42
The open work permit may be issued for a period that ends no later than the validity of the principal foreign national’s study permit or the applicant’s passport expiry, whichever comes first.
If the principal foreign national is authorized to study without a permit under section R189 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 study permit extension 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.
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).
If an officer is not satisfied that all the requirements of R200, including the assessment under R205(c)(ii are met, they must record their reasons and outline the rationale underlying the decision as well as the facts and elements considered. They must also provide an explanation for the decision in a case note.
Refusal reasons should clearly indicate which criteria or what requirement of R200 was not met and explain how the conclusion was reached. For assistance, officers can follow the steps in Decision making: Standard of review and process for making a reasonable decision.
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