If you are an international student studying full-time with a valid study permit, your spouse or common-law partner can apply for an open work permit under the labour market impact assessment (LMIA) exemption category [C42].

Supporting the Canadian Interest

The purpose of permitting spouses to enter Canada and work is to enhance the competitiveness of Canada’s academic institutions and economy in study programs and institutions that qualify for post-graduation work permits.

Person writing


Your spouse or common-law partner may be eligible for an open work permit if you:

  • Have a valid study permit
  • Are eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) and
  • Are a full-time student at a designated learning institution (DLI)

Tip: Not all designated learning institutions and not all programs of study make you eligible for the PGWP program. Refer to the DLI list for the most up-to-date information.

When should you apply?

Your spouse/partner can apply for a work permit before or after they arrive in Canada. The work permit will usually be issued for the same length of time as your study permit. Your spouse/partner does not need a job offer to apply for a work permit.