Public policy for spouse or common-law partner in Canada class or family class  applicants to apply in Canada [R205(a) - A74] – 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 pilot program in effect from December 22, 2014 until May 9, 2023, which allowed the issuance of open work permits to applicants in the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class prior to first-stage approval, has ended. Pending applications that were received by IRCC that have not been finalized by May 9, 2023 will be processed under the temporary public policy.

On May 10, 2023, a temporary public policy came into effect to facilitate the issuance of an open work permit to foreign nationals and their accompanying dependent children who are in Canada and have submitted a complete permanent resident application under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class (SCLPC) or in the Family Class as a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner. The public policy waives the requirements of R199 (application after entry), authorizing certain visitors to apply for a work permit in Canada.

The Department uses specific administrative codes to identify certain situations where it considers the work of a foreign national to create significant social, cultural or econoic benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents, as described in R205(a). The factors provided for each code demonstrate how the situation may meet the requirements of R205(a). Officers must also always be satisfied that all requirements of R200 are met.

A74 is the administrative code under which the work of certain foreign nationals, remaining in Canada to reside with their sponsor, may create significant economic or social benefits.

On this page


To be issued an open work permit under this public policy the applicant must meet all of the following criteria at the time of application submission.

The applicant must:

  1. have submitted the application for an open work permit using online IRCC Secure Account (referred to as MyAccount or MyCIC Account or Authorized paid representative portal) as per R9.2
    1. Only applicants who meet the requirements of R9.4 and R9.5 may use the paper application form.
  2. be physically in Canada and
    1. have valid temporary resident status, or
    2. have maintained their temporary resident status under R183(5), or
    3. have applied for and is eligible for restoration of temporary resident status
  3. be included in an application for permanent residence, that has met the requirement of a complete application as per section 10 of the Regulations and the applicable Ministerial Instructions in the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class (SCLPC) or in the Family Class (FC) as a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner,
    1. as the principal applicant
    2. as an accompanying dependent child of the principal applicant in a.
  4. be the subject of a sponsorship application submitted by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident as
    1. a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner
    2. an accompanying dependent child as per R2 of the sponsored person in a.
  5. at the time of application, be residing at the same residential address in Canada as
    1. the sponsor, if a principal applicant
    2. the sponsor and principal applicant, if an accompanying dependent child.

Note: For eligible dependent children, the principal applicant (the spouse, common-law or conjugal partner) must meet the eligibility requirements indicated above in 2, 3.a) and 4.a) at the time of work permit application assessment.

The following foreign nationals are not eligible under this exemption category:

  • applicants whose application for permanent residence under the SCLPC or FC has been refused, withdrawn or returned
  • applicants whose application for permanent residence is being processed under the spousal public policy (subcategory “PP” in the Global Case Management System [GCMS]) on the basis that they do not have a valid temporary resident status. These applicants must wait until they receive approval in principle to be eligible to apply for an open work permit
  • foreign nationals who submit the work permit application as part of a permanent resident application using the Permanent Residence Portal
  • if they submit their application at a port of entry because they must have already been authorized to enter Canada as a temporary resident under section A22 to be eligible

Documentary evidence

With the application for an open work permit, officers should be satisfied that they have the following documentary evidence to make an assessment:

  • proof of relationship (for example, marriage certificate, Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (IMM 5409), birth certificate of a common child that shows both parents’ names)
  • a copy of the Acknowledgment of Receipt letter confirming that the application for permanent residence has been put into processing;
  • proof that they have a valid temporary resident status: for example a valid work permit, visitor record, study permit, Temporary Resident Permit, or a stamp in their passport;
  • have the same residential address as their sponsor in Canada

In addition, for dependent children:

  • a copy of the IMM 0008 form for the application for permanent residence in which the principal applicant listed the name of their family members

Receipt of application

All applications must be submitted online unless the applicant is exempt under R9.4 or R9.5.

Paper application

If the work permit applicant meets one of the exemptions under R9.4 or 9.5 (for example, they require accommodations under R9.5, including for a disability, they can submit the work permit application in another format (paper, braille or large print) after meeting the requirement of a complete permanent resident application as per section 10 of the Regulations.

PR Online Portal

An open work permit application submitted in the PR Portal is not eligible under this public policy.

However, since the applicant is physically in Canada, the work permit application should be processed to a final decision as rejection of the application could affect the applicants temporary resident status in Canada.

Assessing the application

Processing officers will ensure that the requirements for the open work permit are met.

Since the only assessment on the permanent resident application was to confirm that it is complete, officers assessing the work permit application should conduct system checks to identify any adverse information, on either the sponsor or the applicant, that would render the applicant ineligible for permanent residence and thus the work permit in this category.

If there is information that an applicant is inadmissible, the admissibility assessment should be completed before a final decision on the work permit application.

In situations where a temporary resident permit is issued to the applicant to overcome an inadmissibility and where the person is an applicant for permanent residence under the SCLPC class, they may be issued an open work permit under this public policy, or they may meet the requirements under a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption (see International Mobility Program: Humanitarian reasons [R208]).

Genuine relationship

As per section R4, a foreign national shall not be considered a spouse or a common-law partner or a conjugal partner of a person if the marriage, common-law partnership or conjugal 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 genuineness of the relationship, they may request further documentation or information to confirm that the relationship between the dependent spouse, common-law partner or conjugal partner and the principal foreign national is genuine and is not a relationship of convenience.

Officers can review the guidance in Assessing the relationship of spouses, common-law and conjugal partners for further information.

Dependent children and working age

There is no set minimum age to be eligible for a work permit. The submission of work permit applications on behalf of minor children is at the discretion of their parent(s) or authorized guardian(s).

The ‘working age’ varies across provincial and territorial jurisdictions and there is no minimum age for work permit issuance specified in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) or its Regulations.

As such, unless there are reasonable grounds for an officer to be satisfied that a dependent child is unable to perform the work sought or any other reasons for refusal, minors may be issued a work permit.

Please refer to the PDIs on Who qualifies as a dependent child to confirm if an applicant meets the definition of a dependent child in relation to the principal applicant.

The age of a dependent child is locked in when IRCC receives the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class or in the Family Class application.

Final decision


If the work permit application is approved under this public policy, under the Application screen, officers should enter the following information in the specified fields:

Field Selection or input
Case Type 27
Special Program Code SPO (sponsored spouse or partner)
Province of destination Unknown or open
Exemption code A74
Employer Open
Intended Occupation Open
NOC 99999
Duration The open work permit may be issued for a maximum period of 24 months or the date the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first.
Conditions Officers should ensure that instructions provided in Medical conditions to be imposed for open employer but occupation-restricted work permits are followed.
User Remarks Mandatory

The following remark must be added to all open work permits

For spousal: “Pending SCLPC APR” or “Pending FC APR”

For dependent children only: Authorized to work as per applicable Canadian federal, provincial and territorial 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).

Refusal and refunds

If the decision is to refuse the application, the processing officer must state in a case note their logical, reasonable conclusions. Officers can follow the instructions provided in Decision making: Standard of review and process for making a reasonable decision

For example:

The applicant submitted their application on paper and failed to provide any evidence they meet the requirements of R9.4 or R9.5. Therefore, they are not eligible for this public policy.

For example:

I am not satisfied that there is a genuine spousal relationship for the following reasons (include all concerns).


The associated work permit processing fee is not refunded. However, the Open Work Permit Holder fee must be refunded where an application is refused.

Page details

Date modified: