Considering Canada under the IEC program and wondering if your partner can work too? Spouses or common-law partners of IEC participants can get open work permits, with conditions.

Eligibility for Spousal Open Work Permit

IEC Participant’s Work Permit

  • The spouse or common-law partner of an IEC participant can obtain a spousal open work permit if the IEC participant holds an open work permit, such as the one granted under the Working Holiday category.

Common-Law Relationship

  • A common-law relationship is defined as a couple living together in a relationship (opposite- or same-sex) continuously for a period of at least one year.

Doubling Your Participation and Time Working in Canada

Utilizing Spousal Open Work Permit

Maximizing Eligibility

  • Couples can apply for working holiday permits simultaneously, and if only one partner is approved, the other partner can apply for an open work permit. This effectively doubles the eligibility for working in Canada.

Important Considerations

Employment Requirement

  • For the spouse or partner of an IEC participant to obtain an open work permit, the participant must be employed in Canada. The participant must have employment in any occupation (TEER level 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5) and must provide documentation attesting to this as part of their spouse or partner’s application.

Joining the IEC Participant

  • If the IEC Working Holiday participant obtains employment upon arrival, the spouse or partner may join them in Canada without requiring an invitation. The spouse or partner does not even have to be eligible under the IEC in such scenarios.

Significant Caveat

Timing and Employment

  • The IEC participant must move to Canada and be working in Canada before their spouse or partner follows along. If both parties wish to land together, the IEC participant must carry proof of a job offer in Canada. The issuance of a permit for the spouse will be at the discretion of the officer at the border.

Seeking Assistance

For those seeking an open work permit through the IEC program, consulting a Canadian immigration expert is wise. Spousal open work permits enable couples to work in Canada, but knowing eligibility and the process is crucial.