Work permit for spousal sponsorship applicants

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has instructed immigration officials to launch a one-year

pilot program that will allow inland spousal sponsorship applicants to receive a work permit more quickly.

The federal government will start issuing open work permits to help the spouses of Canadians already living in the country but waiting for permanent residency, under a one-year pilot program launched today.

“As we promised, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is launching a pilot program that will allow spouses being sponsored under the Inland Spousal Sponsorship program to receive their work permits much sooner while we process their applications,” a spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.

“This ensures that they can provide for their families and contribute to Canada’s economy at the same time,” Kevin Ménard.

Blair Hacche, a New Zealand man and his Canadian fiancée Jenn Ward live in Dorchester, Ont., with their 13-month-old son Dexter and six-year-old Ewan — Ward’s son from a previous relationship.

Hacche, who has been in Canada since February 2013, was facing more than a year wait when he submitted his application for permanent residency this past July.

“[It’s] definitely been a struggle financially to keep the mortgage paid and keep up with all the bills. That’s definitely the biggest strain,” Hacche.

‘Godsend if it works out’

Existing applicants, who have been waiting in certain cases upwards of 18 months, could see their open work permit applications processed within a matter of weeks, while new applicants could see their permit applications processed within four months.​

An open work permit allows applicants to work for any employer for a specified period of time while their permanent residence applications are processed.

This would also allow the applicants to receive provincial health coverage while awaiting permanent residency.

This article first appeared HERE

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