Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has unveiled a Pilot Project which will now allow spouses, common-law partners, and dependent children of temporary foreign workers in British Columbia to obtain an open work permit. This pilot project, which will operate from August 15, 2011 to February 15, 2013, is similar to the pilot projects currently operating in Ontario and Alberta.
Spouses and Common-Law Partners
Currently, spouses and common-law partners of temporary foreign workers holding work permits for 6 months or more in a skilled or managerial (NOC O, A, or B) position across Canada are eligible for an open work permit. With this new Pilot project, however, eligible spouses/common-law partners of temporary foreign workers engaged in work in low-skilled (NOC C and D) positions in British Columbia will also be eligible for open work permits for a comparable period of time.
Typically, dependent children of temporary foreign workers in British Columbia would have to meet the same requirements of other foreign workers to obtain a work permit. This includes having an offer of employment and in most cases, obtaining a positive Labour Market Opinion from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (Service Canada). With this Pilot Project, however, those residing in British Columbia may now apply for an open work permit on the basis of their parent's work permit.
In order for a spouse/common-law partner or dependent child to qualify for an open work permit under this Pilot Project, the following criteria must be met:
If all of the above criteria have been met, CIC will issue an open work valid for the duration of the spouse or parent's work permit. The work permit may be issued without requiring a Labour Market Opinion and will allow the applicant to work for any employer in the province. A maximum of 1,800 open work permits will be issued under this project, with progress against the cap being monitored by both CIC and the BC Government.
For further details and updates regarding participation of other provinces or future extensions to the Pilot Project, contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP.