The Canadian government announced yesterday the launch of a program that will issue work permits to the spouses of Canadian residents who are waiting for their permanent residency. The initiative, which will be for an initial one-year trial period, was taken to help the thousands of families of Canadian residents who have been living in Canada without the right to work and who have been denied access to public services. Several reports highlighting the plight of these families have featured prominently in Canadian news media recently.
A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Chris Alexander was quoted as saying, “As we promised, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is launching a pilot program that will allow spouses being sponsored under the Inland Spousal Sponsorship program to receive their work permits much sooner while we process their applications.”
The program aims to ensure that the spouses can better look after their families while also contributing to Canada’s economy.
According to the announcement, existing permanent residence applicants – who have been waiting for more than 18 months in some instances – will have their work permits issued in just a few weeks. For new applicants, the processing time for work permits has been set at a maximum of four months.
Under this pilot program, an open work permit will be issued which will allow the applicant to work for any employer in Canada for a fixed duration of time while their application for permanent residency is being processed. The open work permit will also allow the holder to avail provincial health coverage during the waiting period.