Temporary measure for spouses and children of temporary foreign workers

Temporary measure for spouses and children of temporary foreign workers

Today, Canada is expected to begin to extend work permits to spouses and working-age children of temporary foreign workers. This temporary measure was announced on December 2, 2022, to improve the emotional well-being of workers and help address labour shortages in Canada.

With this new temporary 2-year measure, it is estimated that family members of more than 200,000 foreign workers could begin working in Canada. This would include families of workers in health care, trades and hospitality, for example. 

<<Canada to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents in 2023>


Before the temporary measure, spouses were only eligible for a work permit if the principal applicant was working in a high-skill occupation: TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3. However, spouses are now eligible for open work permits if the principal applicant is working in any occupation: TEER 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.

About the temporary measure

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will implement the temporary measure in 3 phases:

PhasesEffective Date
Phase 1 will enable family members of workers coming to Canada through the high-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program to apply for an open work permit.January 30, 2023
Phase 2 aims to expand the measure to the family members of workers from the low-wage stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, following consultations.To be decided
Phase 3 will include consultation with agricultural partners and stakeholders to assess the operational feasibility of expanding the measure to family members of agricultural workers.To be decided

<<Also Read: Applying for an open work permit for vulnerable workers in Canada>>

Who is eligible?

Under the new policy, eligibility for a work permit is extended to those who meet the following criteria.

They are the spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child of a work permit holder who:

Spouses and dependents of work permit holders in TEER 4 or 5 jobs are not eligible at this time, if the work permit holders are currently working under:

  • the low-wage stream of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program, or
  • the Agricultural Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Please note that the Government of Canada will continue to implement policies that help employers with their staffing needs across all skill levels.

<<Age Lock-in Date for Dependent Children in Immigration to Canada>>

How to work in Canada?

Canada is one of the top 10 economies on earth. Many people around the world dream to work and live in Canada. In fact, Canada welcomes more than 250,000 temporary foreign workers every year. Of course, these people work in different sectors such as agriculture, IT, manufacturing, natural resources, etc. Nonetheless, some of them are researchers or highly skilled workers and some of them are low-skilled workers. Our CEO and RCIC-IRB, Al Parsai, shared three steps to work in Canada:

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