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What is the Spousal Sponsorship Program?

Infinite News Desk

The spousal sponsorship programme is a type of immigration intended for foreign people who are married to or have a common-law partner with a permanent resident of Canada or a citizen of Canada. Through this scheme, Canadians with PR and citizens can seek to sponsor a loved one who, if accepted, may be granted PR in Canada.

Importantly, there are two application processes for the spousal sponsorship programme: Inland (for couples who are currently residing in Canada) and Outland (for couples where the foreign national partner is residing outside of Canada). However, the SOWP is only available for Inland sponsorship cases.

Benefits of SOWP?

Among other requirements, Canadian citizens and permanent residents must be able to support their spouse or partner financially, taking care of their basic needs (housing, food, personal care, clothing, daily needs, and medical costs not covered by public health insurance) and preventing them from requiring government social assistance.

Sponsors will be needed to sign a commitment promising to support the sponsored person for three years; the IRCC typically responds to applications within a year.

The SOWP fills this gap by providing sponsored foreign nationals with a way to ease their partner’s financial burden while also allowing them to remain with their loved one without having to give up their present temporary resident status in Canada.

Candidates that are being sponsored must:

  • Reside at the same address as the sponsor (spouse or common-law partner); Have completed an application for permanent residence through the spousal sponsorship programme;
  • possess a valid visa for temporary residence; and
  • satisfy all requirements for qualifying under the spouse sponsorship programme 

Candidates can apply for a SOWP by applying for an open work permit if they satisfy these requirements (OWP).

Candidates may submit applications for both sponsorship and a SOWP at the same time; however, if they choose not to do so, they will first need to wait for IRCC to acknowledge receipt of their application for the spousal sponsorship programme.

Candidates are then qualified to obtain a SOWP before the IRCC makes a decision on their application. Candidates cannot start working before receiving the SOWP (unless they already have a work permit under their temporary status).

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