Can spousal work permit holder apply for immigration

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Can spousal work permit holder apply for immigration

What is a Canadian Spousal Work Permit?

In the Canadian immigration system, the type of work permits include employer-specific work permit and open work permit, and spousal work permit is a kind of open work permit.

According to the Immigration Act, spouses of the following people in Canada may apply for open work permits:

  • Spouses in Spousal Sponsorship application
  • Spouses of applicants in the Canadian Immigration Pilot Programs
  • Spouses of applicants who are applying for refugee or protected person in Canada
  • Spouses of international students or foreign workers with valid permits in Canada

Can a spousal work permit holder apply for immigration?

The answer is: It depends on the program.

We will explain the role of spousal work permit in each of the following major immigration programs.

1.Federal Express Entry

Spousal work permit holders can be the principal applicant of the program or as a spouse adding points to the principal applicant in CRS system.

2. British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP)

BCPNP does not have restrictions on type of work permit, which means that spousal work permit holders can apply for BCPNP.

BCPNP SI – Skilled Worker Category, EEBC – Skilled Worker Category, and SI – Entry Level & Semi-Skilled Category are open to spousal work permit holders.

3. Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)

AINP clearly states that it does not nominate spousal work permit holders.

Valid work permits are based on one of the following:

  • a positive LMIA
  • a LMIA exemption for workers based on one of the following exemptions as determine by IRCC:
    • international trade agreements
    • workers transferred within a company
    • International Experience Canada
    • Mobilité Francophone
    • an open work permit issued by IRCC to vulnerable workers who have demonstrated they are experiencing abuse or are at risk of abuse in the context of their employment in Canada or the family members of a vulnerable worker under the VWOWP exemption
  • a PGWP held by a graduate of an Alberta Advanced Education publicly funded post-secondary institution who also meet specific occupation, education and work experience requirements as set out below
  • an open work permit issued under IRCC’s open work permit public policy for former or current PGWP holders held by a graduate of an Alberta Advanced Education publicly funded post-secondary institution who meet the same specific occupation, education and work experience requirements as PGWP holders as set out below

4. Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP)

SINP clearly states that it does not nominate spousal work permit holders.

Valid work permits must be from one of the following programs:

  • Seasonal Agriculture Worker Program.
  • International Experience Canada.
  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

4. Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) 

MPNP does not have restrictions on type of work permit, which means that spousal work permit holders can apply for MPNP.

MPNP Skilled Worker Stream – Skilled Workers in Manitoba Category is open to spousal work permit holders.

5. Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)

OINP does not have restrictions on type of work permit, which means that spousal work permit holders can apply for OINP.

OINP Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills stream, Ontario’s Express Entry Skilled Trades stream, and Ontario’s Express Entry Human Capital Priorities stream are all open to spousal work permit holders.

6. Yukon Nominee Program (YNP)

YNP does not have restrictions on type of work permit, which means that spousal work permit holders can apply for YNP.

Critical Impact Worker criteria and Skilled Worker criteria are open to spousal work permit holders.

7. Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) 

NSNP does not have restrictions on type of work permit, which means that spousal work permit holders can apply for NSNP.

Skilled Worker Stream, Nova Scotia Experience: Express Entry, Occupations in Demand Stream are open to spousal work permit holders.

8. New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP)

NBPNP does not have restrictions on type of work permit, which means that spousal work permit holders can apply for NBPNP.

Skilled Worker Stream, Strategic Initiative Stream, and Express Entry Stream are open to spousal work permit holders.

9. Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP)

PEI PNP does not have restrictions on type of work permit, which means that spousal work permit holders can apply for PEI PNP.

Skilled Worker Stream and Critical Worker Stream (NOC D) are open to spousal work permit holders.

10. Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP)

NLPNP does not have restrictions on type of work permit, which means that spousal work permit holders can apply for NLPNP.

Skilled Worker Category and Express Entry Skilled Worker Category are open to spousal work permit holders.

11. Northwest Territories Nominee Program (NTNP) 

NLPNP does not have restrictions on type of work permit, which means that spousal work permit holders can apply for NTNP.

Employer-Driven Stream – Skilled Worker Category and Employer-Driven Stream – Entry Level/Semi-skilled Occupations Category are open to spousal work permit holders.

12. Atlantic Immigration Pilot

Spousal work permit holders can accumulate work experience in Canada and apply for Atlantic High-Skilled Program and Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program.

13. Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot

Spousal work permit holders can accumulate work experience in Canada and apply for the either program.

14. Permanent residence pathways for Hong Kong residents

Spousal work permit holders who meet the education requirements can accumulate work experience in Canada and apply for Stream B: Canadian work experience.

15. Home Child Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot

Spousal work permit holders can accumulate work experience in Canada and apply for the either program.

16. Temporary resident to permanent resident pathway

Spousal work permit holders can accumulate work experience in Canada and apply for Workers in Canada: Health Care Category, French-speaking workers in Canada: Health care Category, and French-speaking workers in Canada: Essential, non-health care Category.

17. Agri-Food Pilot

Agri-Food Pilot clearly states that any work experience gained while holding an spousal work permit does not count.

Eligible Canadian work experience must be through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program: A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) with a minimum 12-month duration must have been submitted by your employer when hiring you. If you’re not sure, you can ask your former or current employer about the duration.


This article is mainly focused on how to immigrate under the provincial nomination programs or federal programs after the spouse has accumulated certain work experience in Canada.

Last Modified / 最后修改: Sep 22, 2021

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