Bridging Open Work Permit
The bridging open work permit (BOWP) is a way to keep a worker in Canada working while their application for permanent residence is being processed.
In-Canada applicants who have made an application to immigrate to Canada under either the Federal Skilled Worker(FSW) Class, the Federal Skilled Trades(FST) Class, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), or one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) may be considered for a bridging open work permit if their current work permit is due to expire (within four months). In addition, a foreign worker legally working in Canada who has made, or will soon make, an application for permanent residence under one of these immigration programs may then continue to work until a decision is made on their application for permanent residence.
This is beneficial for the federal government, Canadian communities, and employers, as well as applicants and their families because otherwise, applicants and their dependents (spouse and children) would have to either leave Canada temporarily, stay in Canada under visitor status, or find an employer willing to go through the process of applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
An open work permit, which allows its bearer to work for any employer in Canada, is preferable as it provides applicants with better flexibility to integrate and navigate the Canadian labor market, given that they have already been found eligible for permanent residence and are currently working in Canada.
Bridging Open Work Permits and Express Entry
When an applicant for a federal economic immigration program processed through the Express Entry immigration selection system submits an electronic application for permanent residence, they receive an Acknowledgment of Receipt letter. This letter is automatically generated in the MyCIC account following the electronic application for permanent residence (e-APR) submission. Therefore, applicants eligible to apply for a BOWP may apply immediately after receipt of this Acknowledgment of Receipt letter, instead of waiting for the second Acknowledgment of Receipt letter issued by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
However, the application for a BOWP will not be processed until the completeness check has been performed at the Centralized Intake Office. BOWP applications received before the completeness checks have been performed will be held until they are ready to be processed. If an e-APR is incomplete, the applicant is no longer eligible for a BOWP. In these cases, the application for a BOWP will be refused.
To be eligible for a bridging open work permit, the following parameters must be met:
- The foreign national is currently in Canada;
- They have valid status on a work permit that is due to expire within four months;
- They are the principal applicant on an application for permanent residence under the FSWP, the CEC, the PNP, or the FSTP;
- They received a positive eligibility assessment on their application; and
- They have made an application for an open work permit.
Please note that a foreign national does not qualify for a bridging work permit if:
- They are in Canada under section 186 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (work permit exempt) situations;
- They have let their status expire;
- Their work permit is valid for longer than four months, and they have a new LMIA that can be used as the basis for a new work permit application;
- They are applying for a bridging work permit at the port of entry.
- They are the spouse or dependent of the principal permanent resident applicant; or
- They are provincial nominees who have not submitted a copy of their nomination letter with a bridging work permit application or whose letter specifically indicates employment restrictions.
Spouse or Common-law Partner and Dependants
Certain conditions are required to be met by the holder of a bridging work permit for his or her spouse also to be eligible for an open work permit:
- The bridging work permit must be valid for longer than six months in all cases.
- For spouses of FSW applicants, the bridging work permit holder must perform work at a level that falls within National Occupational Classification (NOC) Skill Levels 0, A, or B.
- For spouses of PNP applicants, the spouse is eligible for an open work permit for the duration of the work permit held by the principal PNP applicant, irrespective of the skill level of the principal PNP applicant’s occupation.
- For spouses of FST applicants, the bridging work permit holder must perform work within one of the qualifying occupations in NOC Skill Level B.
- There are no set preconditions for spouses of CEC applicants to be met by the principal CEC applicant.
Dependent children of an applicant in any of these economic classes must get an LMIA or have an LMIA exemption based on their specific circumstances to apply for a work permit.
When issuing a bridging open work permit to an applicant for permanent residence under a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), the employment location on the work permit must be restricted to the nominating province. Therefore, the province of destination must be selected, and then the city of destination value should be selected to show the province/territory.
FSW, FST, CEC
There are no restrictions to employment location for a bridging open work permit issued to applicants for the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class, or Canadian Experience Class.
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