Spousal Open Work Permit for Self-Employed Individuals: How to Apply and Eligibility Requirements
Learn how to apply for a Spousal Open Work Permit as a self-employed individual, understand eligibility requirements, and unlock the potential for a thriving career alongside your partner in Canada.
IMMERGITY Immigration Consultant
Mar 31, 2023
3 - 4 months
*Processing time and fee are variable
Spousal Open Work Permit for Self-Employed Individuals
A spousal open work permit allows the spouse or common-law partner of a temporary foreign worker or international student to work in the host country. As a self-employed individual, you may still be eligible for this permit, making it a valuable option to consider.
Table of Contents
What is a Spousal Open Work Permit?
How to Apply
What is a Spousal Open Work Permit?
A spousal open work permit (SOWP) is a type of work permit issued to spouses or common-law partners of temporary foreign workers or international students. The permit allows the holder to work for any employer in the host country, without needing a job offer or a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This flexibility makes it an attractive option for self-employed individuals looking to work alongside their partner in a foreign country.
To be eligible for a spousal open work permit, the following requirements must be met:
Relationship status: You must be the spouse or common-law partner of a temporary foreign worker or international student.
Sponsor's status: Your spouse or common-law partner must be either:
A temporary foreign worker with a valid work permit and working in a job classified as a high-skilled occupation (National Occupational Classification [NOC] teer level 0, 1, 2 or 3), or
An international student enrolled in a full-time program at an eligible post-secondary institution.
Duration of the permit: The duration of the spousal open work permit should not exceed the validity of the sponsor's work permit or study permit.
Self-employment: As a self-employed individual, you must still demonstrate that you have the skills, experience, and financial resources necessary to establish, manage, or contribute to a business venture in the host country. This may include providing a detailed business plan, proof of relevant experience, and evidence of financial stability.
How to Apply
To apply for a spousal open work permit, follow these steps:
Check your eligibility: Ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements listed above.
Gather required documents: Collect the necessary documents, such as:
Proof of relationship (marriage certificate or common-law partnership documents)
Copy of your spouse or partner's work permit or study permit
Proof of your spouse or partner's employment or enrollment in an eligible post-secondary institution
Your passport and any previous visas or permits
A detailed business plan for your self-employment venture
Proof of relevant experience in your field of work
Evidence of financial stability (bank statements, tax returns, etc.)
Complete the application: Fill out the required application forms for a spousal open work permit. These forms can usually be found on the host country's immigration or visa services website.
Submit the application: Submit your application online or by mail, along with the required documents and the application fee. Keep in mind that processing times may vary depending on the host country and the method of submission.
Wait for a decision: Once your application has been submitted, you will need to wait for a decision from the immigration authorities. During this time, you may be asked to provide additional information or attend an interview.
Receive your work permit: If your application is approved, you will be issued a spousal open work permit. This will allow you to work as a self-employed individual in the host country, alongside your spouse or common-law partner.
Q: Can I apply for a spousal open work permit if my spouse is in the host country on a visitor visa?
A: No, a spousal open work permit is only available if your spouse or common-law partner is a temporary foreign worker with a valid work permit or an international student enrolled in a full-time program at an eligible post-secondary institution.
Q: Can I start working as soon as I submit my application?
A: No, you must wait until your spousal open work permit has been approved and issued before you can begin working as a self-employed individual in the host country.
Q: What happens if my spouse or common-law partner's work permit or study permit expires before my spousal open work permit does?
A: If your spouse or common-law partner's work permit or study permit expires, your spousal open work permit will no longer be valid. In this situation, you would need to either apply for an extension or change your immigration status to continue working in the host country.
Q: Can I change employers or the type of work I do under a spousal open work permit?
A: Yes, a spousal open work permit allows you to work for any employer and in any occupation, provided it aligns with your self-employment venture. However, you should still notify the immigration authorities if there are significant changes to your employment situation or business activities.
Q: How long does it take to process a spousal open work permit application?
A: Processing times for spousal open work permit applications can vary depending on the host country and the method of submission (online or by mail). Typically, online applications have shorter processing times. To get an estimate of the processing time for your specific situation, check the host country's immigration or visa services website.
Q: Can I bring my children with me while I am on a spousal open work permit?
A: Yes, your dependent children may be eligible to accompany you while you are working in the host country under a spousal open work permit. They may need to apply for a study permit or a visitor visa, depending on their age and the duration of their stay. Make sure to include your children's information and the necessary documents when submitting your application.
Q: Can I apply for permanent residency while on a spousal open work permit?
A: Depending on the host country's immigration policies, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency while on a spousal open work permit. In many cases, having work experience in the host country, along with meeting other eligibility requirements, can increase your chances of being approved for permanent residency.
Q: What if my spousal open work permit application is denied?
A: If your application is denied, you will receive a decision letter detailing the reasons for the refusal. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to address the concerns raised and reapply, or you may need to explore other immigration options. It is advisable to consult with an immigration expert or lawyer to discuss your options and the best course of action in your specific situation.
Q: Can I travel outside the country while my spousal open work permit application is being processed?
A: It is generally possible to travel outside the country while your spousal open work permit application is being processed. However, you must ensure that you have a valid visa or travel document to return to Canada. It is recommended to consult with the host country's immigration or visa services before planning any international travel during the application process.
Q: Do I need to pass any language tests to apply for a spousal open work permit?
A: Language requirements may vary depending on the employer's policies.
Obtaining a spousal open work permit as a self-employed individual can be a valuable option for those looking to work alongside their spouse or common-law partner in a foreign country. By meeting the eligibility requirements, gathering the necessary documentation, and following the application process, you can successfully apply for this type of work permit and expand your professional opportunities abroad.
To apply for an SOWP, book an appointment now.