New Temporary Work Permit Policy
Starting January 2023, Canada will broaden the class of people who are eligible to work in Canada to include spouses and children of working age. It is a step-by-step process that workers of varying levels of expertise can follow. The families of workers in the healthcare industry, trades, and hospitality would be covered by the policy. It is an incredible opportunity for people from other countries who want to work in Canada as well as for employers who are looking to fill labour vacancies.
The measure will be phased in, beginning with the high-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program.
Canada has issued over 645,000 work permits between January and October 2022—nearly 4 times more than the 163,000 issued over the same period in 2021.
Family members of temporary workers can now apply for open work permits in Canada
On December 2, 2022, the Honorable Sean Fraser, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (IRCC), announced a new measure to help solve the labor shortage that will take effect beginning January 2023.
From January 2023, Canada will extend work permit eligibility for spouses, common-law partners, and working-age dependents of temporary workers of all skill levels.
What changes with the new announcement?
Prior to this announcement, spouses were only eligible for a work permit if the primary applicant worked in a high-skill occupation, such as TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3. Following this announcement, work permit holders with any skill level (TEER 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5) can now apply for spousal open work permits for their spouses.
Beginning in January 2023, Canada will implement a temporary measure that will last for two years. As part of this measure, spouses and children of working age will be eligible to work in Canada on a phased basis, and this expansion will apply to workers of all skill levels. Families of workers in industries such as health care, trades, and hospitality, for example, would fall into this category. It is estimated that family members of more than 200,000 foreign workers could begin working in Canada as a result of this new approach. This would provide a greater opportunity for foreign workers seeking work in Canada as well as for employers seeking to address their labor needs.
What happens next?
In addition to the work permit exemption, the temporary measure will be put into effect in three stages to maximize the likelihood of its successful deployment:
In Phase 1, family members of workers coming to Canada through the high-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program will be able to apply for an open work permit. These workers will be permitted to work in Canada after they arrive.
Phase 2, will focus on broadening the scope of the measure to include family members of workers in the low-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Phase 3, will explore the practical feasibility of extending the scope of the measure to cover family members of agricultural workers.
What are the eligibility requirements for open work permit under the new public policy in Canada.
You can apply if:
You are the Spouse or working - age child(ren) of the primary applicant.
The Primary applicant is a High Wage worker with a work permit under the of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program
The Primary applicant is working in a high skill job or in the health care, trades and hospitality sector (Phase 1).
Why is this policy being introduced?
The Honorable Sean Fraser said, this new policy will help in reducing the acute labour shortage in Canada as well as bring together family members of the people who are already making a contribution to the Canadian economy. The Open work permits allow foreign nationals to legally work for any employer and in any job in Canada.
What is the difference between a High Wage occupation vs a Low Wage occupation in Canada?
High wage positions are those that offer a salary/wage/compensation at or above the provincial or territorial median hourly wage.
Low wage positions are those that offer a salary/wage/compensation below the provincial or territorial median hourly wage.
Median hourly wages by province or territory
Median hourly wages prior to April 30, 2022
Median hourly wages as of April 30, 2022
Newfoundland and Labrador
Prince Edward Island