In a welcome move, changes have been made (although on a limited basis to date) which will allow some accompanying children of foreign workers in Canada to obtain their own work permits.

Historically, accompanying spouses could obtain a work permit under the Spousal Work Permit Employment program. However, accompanying children had to qualify independently for a work permit. They could not "piggyback" on their parent's work permit.

With the change, eligible dependent children will be able to obtain an open work permit where the foreign worker parent has a work permit valid for 6 months or longer, and where the parent is employed in a position that comes under Skill Level 0, A or B of Canada's National Occupational Classification.

However, currently only two provinces, Alberta and Ontario, are participating, and only to June 30, 2010 (though such pilot projects tend to be extended). The participant age in Alberta is 18-22 years of age. In Ontario, the participant age is 14 years or older. Hopefully, this program will expand to other provinces.

Therefore, foreign workers already in Alberta and Ontario with eligible dependant children can now take steps to apply for work permits under this program.

Information on Work Permits for Dependant Children

Operational Bulletin Regarding Alberta Program

Operational Bulletin Regarding Ontario Program