top of page

Faster Reunification in Canada for Sponsored Spouses and Partners!

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

Family reunification in Canada has been given a giant boost thanks to changes made last week by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Last Friday, new temporary measures were issued, making it easier and faster for overseas spouses/partners to both come to and work in Canada. Here is what you need to know about the recent changes:

1. Spouses/partners sponsored in the Family class can obtain temporary resident visas faster – and hopefully easier!

There is no question that the lengthening time for processing sponsorship applications has led to longer separation of spouses and partners. People from countries requiring a temporary resident visas (TRVs) are often separated from their spouses in Canada for extended periods of time due to delays in processing their visas.

IRCC has now also committed to the faster processing of TRVs for spouses sponsored in the Family class. Going forward, IRCC has indicated that most applications will be processed within just 30 days with applicants benefiting from processing measures specific to their circumstances. Once in Canada, the foreign spouses will be able to apply for open work permits (as described below).

2. Open Work permits are now available for sponsored spouses/partners in the Family class

Prior to these changes, there was a difference between spouses/partners sponsored from within Canada, who could obtain open work permits while waiting for their applications to be processed, and people being sponsored from outside Canada, who were not eligible for work permits while they wait for permanent residence.

Now, with IRCC’s recent changes spouses/partners sponsored in the Family class are able to obtain open work permits once they come to Canada. To be eligible for the open work permit the foreign spouse must:

(a) be a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner under the Family class that has been accepted for processing (received an acknowledgment of receipt);

(b) have the same residential address as their sponsor at the time of the work permit application; and

(c) have valid temporary resident status in Canada (or be eligible to apply for restoration of status).

Dependent children accompanying their parent being sponsored in the Family class are also eligible for open work permits if they also meet conditions (b) and (c).

Spousal sponsorship applications can be made (i) in the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class (when the spouse being sponsored is already inside Canada) or (ii) in the Family class (when the spouse being sponsored is outside Canada).

Starting in December 2014, IRCC allowed those being sponsored in the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada class, to apply for open work permits – allowing them to work in Canada while their sponsorship applications were being processed. Those sponsored in the Family class, however, have not previously had access to open work permits while their applications were being processed, even if they were able to come and stay in Canada during the processing time of their application.

The above changes apply both to new Family class sponsorship applications and to applications that have been filed and are in process.

Battista Migration Law Group are experts in family class reunification. Michael Battista played a leading role in opening the family class in Canadian immigration law to same-sex families. If you are interested in a Family Class sponsorship application and/or an open work permit or temporary visa application, or if you have any questions about recent changes, contact our team of dedicated lawyers who would be happy to assist you in meeting your immigration goals.

Contact us at


bottom of page