Spouses of Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada

Work Permit for Spouses of Workers or Students

Spouses (married couples or common-law partners) accompanying a foreign worker or student must obtain their own work permit if they wish to work in Canada. 

A confirmation from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) is not required to obtain a work permit in either of the cases mentioned below. 

In the text below, spouses means married couples, or common-law partners who have lived together for at least one year.

A. Spouses of Highly Skilled Workers

The spouses of qualified workers coming to Canada as highly skilled workers can be authorized to work without having to obtain a confirmed job offer from RHSDC.

In order for the spouse to obtain a work permit, the principal applicant must meet the following criterias :

  1. The principal applicant must have a work permit valid for at least 6 months
  2. The principal applicant’s profession must correpond to the skill levels 0, A or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC). These skill levels apply to all managerial and professional positions and to those in a specialised and technical professions. For further detail on the NOC, consult the HRSDC web site

Issuance of the Work Permit

The validity of the work permit of the spouse cannot go beyond the validity of the principal applicant’s work permit or duration of employment. 

The spouse can obtain an “open” work permit , that is with no indication of a specific employer. 

A medical examination may be required before issuance of the work permit in order to practise certain professions.

This work permit can be applied for outside or within Canada. In order to apply for the permit in Paris, please see the instructions below.

B. Spouses of Foreign Students

Spouses of certain foreign students may obtain a work permit without having to obtain a confirmed job offer from HRSDC. This exemption applies to spouses who are not themselves enrolled in full time studies.

Eligibility Criteria

The applicant must provide proof that he/she is the spouse of a student who holds a valid student permit and who is a full time student in a post-secondary institution, that is, in a university, communitary college or cegep, a technical or school of commercial studies financed by the private or public sector , which is authorized by provincial law to award university degrees.

The work permit of the spouse may be granted for the same validity as that of the principal applicant’s but no longer. The spouse may obtain an “open” work permit, that is, with no indication of a specific employer. A medical examination may be required before issuance of the work permit in ordre to practise certain professions.

This work permit can be applied for outside or within Canada. In order to apply for the permit in Paris, please see the instructions below.

How to Apply at the Canadian Embassy in Paris

Applicants must send a complete application to the Canadian embassy as follows :

  1. work permit application form duly completed. Please specify the occupation field in which you wish to work in Canada. In the box for the name of employer write “Spouse of worker or Spouse of student, as the case may be.
    Nota Bene: Foreign workers intending to work in occupations involving : 1) child-care, 2) primary or secondary school teachers, or 3) health-care, regardless of their intended duration of stay, are required to undergo a medical examination by a doctor designated by the Government of Canada. You must obtain the medical forms from the Embassy before proceeding to the medical examination. Those who do not undergo this examination will not be authorized to work in these occupational groups.
  2. Photocopy of the identification pages of your passport (family name, first name, date and place of birth, expiry date). It period of validity should exceed the duration of your stay in Canada.
  3. If you require a temporary resident visa as well as the work permit (check the list of countries whose citizens need a temporary resident visa), you will also have to send your original passport.
  4. Four (4) passport size identity photographies (45mm x 35mm). Scanned photographies or photocopies are not accepted.
  5. Proof of your ties with the principal applicant :
    • for married couples, please provide a copy of the marriage certificate
    • for common-law partners, please provide proof that you have been living as a couple (whether heterosexual or homosexual) for at least a year. For instance, the following elements can be taken into account as proof : pacte civil de solidarité (PACS), joint bank accounts, joint real estate, joint residential lease, joint bills for electricity, gas or telephone, important documents for both parties showing same residential address such as identification papers, driving license, insurance, etc.
  6. Processing fees for the work permit.
  7. Please provide a copy of the principal applicant’s work or study permit if he/she obtained it before you submit your application

If you wish to apply for a permit at the same time, please insert both applications in the same envelope so that they may be processed concurrently. The processing fees can also be paid together.

How to Apply Within Canada

Contact the Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) call centre at 1-888-242-2100 or consult the CIC web site at Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Comments