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Spouses and common-law partners: Accompanying a student or a temporary worker

Accompanying or visiting your spouse or common-law partner while they study or work temporarily in Canada

You may accompany your spouse or common-law partner to Canada or visit them while they are in Canada, provided that you meet all the normal requirements for temporary residence.  For example, if you require a temporary resident visa, you must apply for a visa and pay the appropriate processing fee.

If you apply for a temporary resident visa, a study permit or a work permit, you should submit your application at the same time as your spouse or common-law partner, when possible. If you are married, you should provide a copy of your marriage certificate. If you are in a common-law relationship, complete and submit the form, Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union, along with the evidence listed in the form to support your relationship.

Working while you are in Canada

Eligibility

In some cases, you may apply for an open work permit if you will be accompanying your spouse or common-law partner to Canada. With an open work permit, you may find and accept any job when you get to Canada. You do not need a job offer or a positive labour market opinion to apply for your work permit. However you may not accept employment in health services or child care without first passing an approved medical exam.  If you plan to seek employment in health services or child care, indicate this clearly on your application so that medical exam instructions will be issued to you.

To be eligible for an open work permit, your spouse or common-law partner must either:

  • have a work permit valid for 6 months or longer and be doing skilled work (a job listed in Skill Level O, A or B in the National Occupation Classification);
  • have a valid work permit for an eligible occupation in a participating province;
  • have a valid study permit and be a full-time student at:

    • a public post-secondary institution, such as a college or university or collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) in Quebec;
    • a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public institution, and receives at least 50 percent of its financing for its overall operations from government grants (currently, only private college-level educational institutions in Quebec qualify); or
    • a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees; or
  • have a valid work permit under the post-graduation work permit program.

Your open work permit will only be valid for the same period of time as your spouse or common-law partner’s work or study permit.

If you are not eligible for an open work permit, you may still apply to work in Canada by making an application for a work permit that meets the standard requirements, including having a job offer and a positive labour market opinion.

You may also apply for a work permit from within Canada. Please see the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website for details.

Studying while you are in Canada

If you would like to study at an educational institution in Canada when you accompany your spouse or common-law partner to Canada temporarily, you will need to meet all of the normal requirements for studying in Canada. If you require a study permit, you should make an application and pay the appropriate processing fee. 

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Date Modified:
2012-01-13