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Canada Revises Spousal Open Work Permit Criteria

Canada Revises Spousal Open Work Permit Criteria

The Canadian government has recently updated the criteria for obtaining a Spousal Open Work Permit (SOWP), which appears to make it more challenging to obtain this work permit.

Previously, SOWPs were available to the spouses of foreign students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs. However, effective March 19, partners and spouses of international students are now only eligible for a SOWP if their sponsor is enrolled in a master’s or doctorate program at a recognized university or polytechnic institution in Canada.

Read more: Canada Inks Deal For Expanded Youth Employment

These revisions come following Canada’s announcement of a 35 percent reduction in the issuance of student visas, and they align with the country’s ongoing anti-immigration policy.

While there are exceptions for spouses of undergraduate students in certain professional degree programs, the overarching change suggests a clear effort by Canada to deter immigration.

Under the new guidelines, spouses of undergraduate students enrolled in specific professional degree programs, such as Medicine, Dentistry, Optometry, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Law, Nursing, Engineering, and Education, remain eligible to apply for a SOWP.

It’s important to note that individuals who submitted SOWP applications before March 19 are still eligible if their partner meets certain conditions, including having a valid study permit, being eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), and attending a qualifying institution.

These requirements also apply to current SOWP holders seeking to extend their permits, ensuring consistency in the application process.