Pilot program for work permit for spousal sponsorship applicants extended for 1 year

December, 2016

Foreign citizens applying to immigrate as a common-law partner or spouse may still apply for a work permit while their inland application for spousal sponsorship is being processed until December 21, 2017. This is after the Canadian government announced the extension of the pilot program that allows spousal sponsorship applicants to work in the country as they wait for their application’s approval.

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According to the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the move is both an act of goodwill and a strategic scheme to help local businesses with retaining or filling industry-crucial posts in their companies. "This pilot program ensures applicants are able to work, provide for their families and contribute to the Canadian economy while waiting for their applications to be processed,” a spokesman for the department told the press.

The pilot program was launched in December 2014 to help spousal sponsorship applicants in limbo to obtain work as they wait for their application to be finalised. In 2015, the government decided to extend it for another year to secure growth in the job sector. The new extension is very in keeping with the government’s goal of strengthening the job market through wide-ranging foreign talent acquisition. By 2017, the Global Skills Strategy, a new scheme introduced by the new government to help boost the sluggish economy by enticing high-skilled foreign talents into the country, is expected to close the gaping hole in the country’s employment problem. The government is resolute that the foreign workers under the spousal sponsorship visa awaiting approval can help close this gap faster.

IRCC Minister John McCallum said he'd do all he can to make the country's immigration system under his watch faster, more accessible, and more efficient. He said that beginning this month, spousal sponsorship applications submitted in and outside Canada will adhere to a customary 12 months processing time. In the past, processing time could typically last for two years, while more complicated applications could take up to three years.

“Canadians who marry someone from abroad shouldn't have to wait for years to have them immigrate or be left with uncertainty in terms of their ability to stay,” McCallum told the press. “What we are announcing today is a more efficient, more considerate process to reunite families.”

Speak with one of our ICCRC-recognized migration consultants to find out more about how these changes may affect your application. You can also take our free online assessment to determine your eligibility to obtain a Spousal Visa to Canada.