Canada has introduced new measures to simplify the process for permanent residents to bring their families to the country and address labor shortages. These measures include a new open work permit for spousal and family class applicants and faster processing times for temporary resident visas (TRVs) for spousal applicants.
Under the new policies:
- Spousal applicants will have access to faster TRV processing times.
- Dedicated processing tools will be available for spousal TRV applicants.
- A new open work permit will be granted to spousal and family class applicants.
- Open work permit extensions will be offered to those whose permits expire between August 1 and the end of 2023.
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aims to process most of these applications within 30 days, with an approval rate of 93% observed so far.
Open work permits will be available to spouses, partners, and dependents who reside with their sponsor in Canada and hold temporary resident status. These permits can be obtained as soon as a complete permanent residence application is submitted under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (SPCLC) or other family class programs.
Additionally, spousal applicants and other open work permit holders with permits expiring between August 1 and the end of 2023 will be able to extend their work permits for an additional 18 months. Similar provisions were recently offered to those with expiring post-graduation work permits.
Canada has been working on improving client services and speeding up application processing. In 2022, over 5.2 million applications were finalized by IRCC, resulting in millions of individuals receiving decisions on their cases. Since July 2022, new spousal sponsorship applications have been processed within a service standard of 12 months for 80% of cases (non-Quebec applications).
It’s important to note that not all foreign nationals will qualify for an open work permit extension through this expedited processing mechanism. The extension is available to those awaiting a decision on their permanent residence application, spouses of family class-sponsored individuals with valid temporary resident status, spouses of most work permit holders, and spouses of study permit holders, along with their dependent children.
In 2022, Canada issued over 1,075,000 work permits and work permit extensions. These measures aim to streamline the immigration process and facilitate family reunification while addressing labor market needs.