common law partners of skilled workers

IRCC now requires evidence of a genuine relationship for spouses and common-law partners

Today, September 27, 2021, IRCC updated the sections on spouses and common-law partners of skilled workers and international students. These sections now reflect that only spouses of study permit holders -who are eligible for a PGWP– may apply for an open work permit. Also, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada added that:

There can only be 1 principal foreign national, a requirement for a genuine relationship and clarification on document requirements.

Before mentioning the main changes, we’ll tell you what a genuine relationship means.

Genuine relationship

As per section R4, a person is not considered a spouse or a common-law partner if:

  • A foreign national enters the marriage or common-law partnership for the purpose of acquiring any status or privilege under the Act, or
  • It is not genuine. If officers have concerns as to genuineness of the relationship, they may request further documentation or information to confirm that the relationship.

General eligibility for spouses or common-law partners of skilled workers (C41 category):

According to IRCC, the dependent spouse or common-law partner must be in a genuine relationship with a principal foreign national. Moreover, the principal applicant must not have an open work permit issued under LMIA-exemption code C41 or C42 and must meet the general eligibility requirements.

Also, for the spouse or common-law partner to qualify for this LMIA exemption, the principal applicant needs a part-time job. The update doesn’t specify how many work hours the principal applicant needs. However, it must convince the officers that he/she has sufficient funds to stay in Canada.

More information: IMP C41 – An open work permit for spouses of Temporary Foreign Workers

For spouses of study permit holders (C42 category):

In general spouses of study permit holders require:

  • Evidence that they are the genuine spouse or common-law partner of a study permit holder.
  • The principal applicant also holds a valid study permit and is pursuing full-time studies.
  • The principal foreign national is in a post-graduation work permit- eligible study program and institution.

If the principal foreign national is not enrolled in the private post-secondary program/institution listed on IRCC’s website, the spouse or common-law partner is not eligible for a spousal open work permit.

Relevant article:

Spouses or common-law partners of bridging open work permit (BOWP) holders

Spouses or common-law partners of bridging open work permit holders must provide additional documentation as per the spouses of open work permit holders’ instruction in Documentary evidence.

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