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Get Ready: Spouses of Open Work Permit Holders to Soon Have the Right to Work in Canada

Work in Canada: Canada has announced that beginning in 2023, it will grant work permits to family members of temporary foreign workers.

According to the announcement made by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the rule will be implemented for a period of two years.

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Canada hopes to alleviate its labor shortage by assisting employers in finding the needed workers by making family members accompanying the principal applicant eligible for work permits.

Screenshot of IRCC

At the moment, spouses can only get a work permit if the main applicant works in a high-skilled job.

Foreign nationals can legally work in Canada for any employer and in any position with open work permits.

Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Sean Fraser, made the announcement on Friday, “Today we are making an announcement that will make it easier for employers to find workers and for families to remain together while they’re here.”

Canada will gradually expand eligibility for workers of all skill levels to include spouses and children of working age starting in January 2023 under a temporary two-year measure.

This would include, for instance, the families of workers in the hospitality, trades, and healthcare industries. It is anticipated that family members of more than 200,000 foreign workers could begin working in Canada as a result of this new strategy. This would provide employers and foreign workers seeking employment in Canada with increased opportunities.

To ensure its successful implementation, the temporary measure will be implemented in three stages:

Phase 1 will make it possible for family members of workers who arrive in Canada through the International Mobility Program or the Temporary Foreign Worker Program’s high-wage stream to apply for an open work permit.

Phase 2 aims to include family members of workers in the low-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in the expanded measure after consultations.

Phase 3 will include examining the operational viability of extending the measure to include family members of agricultural workers and consulting with agricultural partners and stakeholders.

According to Fraser, the move will not only fill employment gaps in Canada but also make the immigration system “more compassionate.”

He stated, “By acknowledging that a person who is here contributing to our economy deserves to be with their loved ones while they make that contribution.”

The measure will be implemented in stages, beginning with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program’s high-wage streams.

Between January and October 2022, Canada issued over 645,000 work permits, nearly four times the number of 163,000 issued in the same time frame in 2021.

According to the most recent information on job openings, there were one million unemployed people and 958,500 open positions in Canada in August.

Canada unveiled its ambitious immigration plan last month to address the severe labor shortage and bring in half a million immigrants annually by 2025.

The nation in North America increased its immigration goal by 4% in 2023 to 465,000 and by 7.5% in 2024 to 485,000, respectively.

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