This COVID pandemic has caused some additional concerns when it comes to spousal sponsorship in Canada. Most spouses are wondering if they can work after entering the country. Before COVID, one of the main perks of the Spouse or Common-Law Partner Class is that it offers an open work permit acquired three to four months after application.

Since March 2020, the processing times have increased, and few work permits in the Spouse or Common-Law Partner Class have been issued. Those who prefer an inland sponsorship must be given a warning that the wait time for an open work permit would be long. The advice can be offered about the consideration of remote work setup for an overseas employer. Or, a work permit can be obtained with the help of alternative means like the International Mobility Program.

After Entry: Can the spouse or partner gain access to health care?

Aside from the work permit, health coverage is another main concern for a spouse/partner sponsorship. OHIP is available in Ontario for inland sponsorship applicants. It is granted upon the receipt of an open work permit and the job offer from the employer.

Effective March 25, 2020, all the necessary medical and health services and assessments will become available from Ontario physicians and hospitals, regardless of OHIP enrollment.

These health services are not limited to COVID-related care. The 3-month eligibility time frame for OHIP coverage has been waived, as well.

After entry: Can the spouse or partner make travel while the application is still on-going?

An individual who applied for permanent residence under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada will not be restricted from international travels. This is only if they have the right and complete documentation to go back to Canada. These documentations include a temporary resident visa, a travel document, and an authorization letter to qualify them to be allowed to return as extended family. This is issued for a single-time use only.

As stated in s.22(2) of IRPA, the main principle of dual intent can be utilized to facilitate the re-entry of an individual who has applied for permanent residence in an inland sponsorship program. A written explanation of the sponsorship application status with the principle of dual intent would be sufficient.

The dual intent operational guidance was updated recently to facilitate sponsored spouses looking for temporary entry.

The guidance recommends several factors to officers evaluating the intentions of spouses and partners granted sponsorships for permanent residence:

  • Whether the sponsored application has been granted or approved;
  • Up to what extent the applicant has maintained ties in their home country;
  • Whether the permanent residence application for permanent residence has acquired even Stage 1 approval;
  • What the applicant’s plan is, should the application be denied

What documents are forgiven during a sponsorship application after entry?

There are instances that program delivery instructions let the applications be submitted since they are usually returned as incomplete due to some missing documents. Program delivery instructions allow the submission of applications that would normally be returned as incomplete due to the absence of required documents.

Restrictions are not implemented on the types of documents that can benefit from this policy. But, it is still crucial to indicate information that the documents are missing due to issues like service disruptions caused by COVID-19. The absence of such information could mean rejection of the application.

Once the explanation is provided, the submitted application will be under review within 90 days. Within that time frame and the missing documents are not provided, a request from CIC for the missing documents will be made to submit them within a 90-day deadline.

Spousal Sponsorships
Spousal Sponsorship


Canada has been offering great opportunities to individuals who want to create a great life in the country. However, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some concerns regarding the immigration process. To ensure that you’ll undergo the proper documentation and implementation, it is recommended to consult with Canadian immigration consultants.

If you’re looking for professional help from a trusted firm, please contact us at or call 1-888-404-8472.

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