While they wait for a decision on their permanent residence application, foreign nationals can continue working in Canada with the Bridging Open Work Permit.
What’s a bridging open work permit?
Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP), which allows foreign nationals to work in Canada, will enable them to extend their status. At the same time, they wait for a decision on their permanent residence application. Only those who have filed a permanent residence application and already possess a valid work permit are eligible for the BOWP. The BOWP applicant who has submitted a successful application will be granted an open work permit to work at multiple employers and locations.
Who can apply for a bridging work permit?
To apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP), a foreign national must first comply with the following conditions:
- Resident in Canada with valid temporary resident status
- Meet the following criteria:
- have a valid work permit and valid temporary resident status
- have renewed their work permits and are currently in Canada
- can restore their temporary resident status by obtaining authorization to work with a work permit
- I have applied for Canadian permanent residence under the principal candidate in one of the following classes.
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
- Federal Skilled Trades
- Caring and caring for children class (prior June 18, 2019,
- Provincial Nominee Program (given that there are no restrictions for the nomination by employers)
- Agri-Food Pilot (AFP)
- Quebec Skilled Worker Class (QSWC)
- Passed the section R10 eligibility check for a QSWC application, Express Entry application, OR positive eligibility assessment after applying under an eligible non-Express Entry permanent residency stream
Bridging open work permit fee
An open work permit fee is $255CAD. $155 is for processing fees and $100 for the available permit holder fee.
Can I work in Canada with a bridging work permit?
Openwork permits allow foreign workers to work in Canada for any employer. There are exceptions to the rules regarding where applicants can work.
Only the nominated province can determine where an employee is employed under a Provincial Nominee Program BOWP.
Individuals applying under the QSWC are restricted to Quebec as the only place they can work.
How long does a bridging work permit remain valid?
Bridging open work usually permits the last 24 months. Extensions may be granted for 12 months if permanent residence applications are processed after the expiry of a BOWP.
No bridging work permit will be issued after the expiry of a passport.
Is it possible to add my spouse or dependents to my bridging work permit application?
A spouse of a BOWP holder who is working in Canada as a skilled professional may be eligible for an open work permit. A visitor record is also available for dependent children.
How do I apply for a bridging work permit?
BOWP applicants need to apply online via their IRCC secure accounts. Online applicants who have difficulties applying can submit their applications on paper.
How can I apply for a bridging work permit?
Express Entry applicants may apply for a BOWP once they Acknowledgement Of Receipt letter via their IRCC MyPortal account.
Quebec Skilled Worker Class candidates must wait until they have completed the completeness stage of their application.
Bridging open work permit document checklist
The type of Canadian work permit you apply for will determine the documents needed. Applicants may require the following documents for their work permit application.
- Acknowledgement Of Receipt (AOR), letter
- Provincial nomination certificate (if applicable)
- Certificat d’acceptation du Quebec (CAQ) (Quebec Acceptance Certificate) (if applicable)
- If you are a live-in caregiver,
- Completed application forms
- Canadian proof of status
- Marriage certificate (if applicable)
- A valid copy of your passport
- Medical exam results (if requested)
- Warranty that payment was made for any applicable government fees
How can I apply for a bridging work permit from Quebec?
Temporary foreign workers who have a Certificate de Selection du Quebec (Quebec Acceptance Certificate) and reside in Quebec may be eligible for a bridging work permit.
Temporary foreign workers must fulfill the following conditions to be eligible for a bridging work permit while they are residing in Quebec:
- I have applied for permanent residence to Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada as the primary applicant as a skilled worker in Quebec;
- You have received an Acknowledgement Of Receipt from IRCC confirming the completeness of your permanent residency application.
Bridging open work permit processing time
Bridging work permits can usually be processed in 3-4 months.
Can I travel to Canada with a bridging work permit?
The bridging open work permit is a document that allows foreign nationals to work in Canada. Still, it cannot be used alone as a travel document. To return to Canada with a BOWP, foreign nationals must have a valid temporary resident visa or eTA.
How can I apply for a bridging work permit from outside Canada?
To apply for a BOWP, foreign nationals must reside in Canada.
Why was my open work permit for bridging rejected?
A BOWP refusal is common when applicants submit incomplete permanent residence applications. Incomplete applications can result in a denial of a BOWP, as they must pass the completeness requirement.
How do I apply for a PR permit on a bridging work permit?
A BOWP applicant must have already applied for permanent residency (PR) to be eligible. There is no reason to apply again for PR.
What happens to my work permit if it expires during the processing of my PR application?
Your work permit may expire while your PR application processing is going on. You will be considered out-of-status and need to apply to regain your worker status in Canada.
Is it possible to work while I wait for a bridging work permit?
Before their current work permits expire, a foreign national must submit a BOWP request. Their current work permit may expire before they receive a decision on their BOWP appeal. They can continue working in Canada with maintained status until the final decision is made regarding their BOWP applications. If the BOWP application for Canada is denied, the foreign national must immediately cease work in Canada. A foreign national who works in Canada without a valid permit for employment will be rejected by Canadian immigration.
How can I convert a closed permit into a bridging work permit?
You can change your work permit from a closed to open license to a bridging token as long you are eligible.
Is it possible to extend a bridging work permit?
The IRCC can extend a 12-month extension for a permanent residence application not completed by the expiration of a BOWP.
What happens if my PR application for a bridging work permit is denied?
You can continue working on your Bridging Open Work Permit even if you have been denied permanent residence.
Spouses and common-law partners of BOWP holders
Your spouse or common-law partner may want to work in Canada while here on the BOWP.
Additional documentation will be required. This information is found on the government webpage.
Your BOWP must also be valid for at least six months regardless of the program for which you applied.
Your partner can be either inside or outside Canada. You can submit your BOWP application and your spouse’s C41 WP application together if you both live in Canada. Your spouse’s work permits cannot be issued before yours. If they live outside Canada, they must wait until they receive their BOWP before applying for the spousal open work permit.
Depending on the program you applied for, your spouse may have special requirements. Your spouse may not be eligible for a work permit if your spouse used one of the following programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program
- Canadian Experience Class
- Caregiver applications before June 18, 2019,
- Agri-Food Pilot
It doesn’t matter your occupation for spouses applying under the Quebec Skilled Worker Class or PNP.
However, Federal Skilled Trades applicants must be working in one of the skilled trade occupations at NOC skill level A to be eligible for a work permit for their spouse.