Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”, formally Citizenship and Immigration Canada) has extended the Spousal Sponsorship Open Work Permit Pilot Project (the “Pilot Project”) to December 21, 2016.

The Pilot Project commenced on December 22, 2014, and applies to spousal sponsorship applicants seeking permanent resident status in the spouse or common-law partner inside Canada class. It does not apply to outside Canada spousal sponsorship applications.  Under the Pilot Project, spousal sponsorship applicants under the inside Canada class are eligible to apply for an open work permit.  IRCC may issue an open work permit to the applicant within four months of receiving a complete sponsorship application.  The open work permit allows the sponsored spouse to work in Canada while awaiting permanent residency.

When IRCC first announced the Pilot Project, they stated it would be assessed after one year. IRCC has conducted that review and renewed the pilot project for an additional year.  No further review was announced and the Pilot Project is currently slated to end on December 21, 2016.