Bridging Open Work Permit

Open Work Permit for this man sitting at his desk.

The bridging open work permit (BOWP) is a type of work permit which allows a worker who is currently in Canada to keep working while they wait for the results of their permanent residence application. To qualify, an applicant must have applied to one of these permanent residence programs: Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Provincial Nominee Program (unrestricted), Caring for Children Class, or Caring for People with High Medical Needs Class. 

Eligibility requirements:

To be eligible for a BOWP, the following parameters must be met:

  • be currently in Canada;
  • have valid status on a work permit that is due to expire within the next four months;
  • be the principal applicant on an APR under the FSWC, the CEC, the FSTC, the PNC, or one of the two caregiver classes;
  • have completed one of the following APR stages: 
    • their electronic application for permanent residence (e-APR) submitted under Express Entry has passed the R10 completeness check; or
    • they have received a positive eligibility assessment on their paper APR submitted by mail under one of the economic classes above; 
  • have applied for an open work permit;
  • have paid the work permit processing fee and the open work permit holder fee; and
  • have provided, as applicable, evidence (e.g., nomination certificate) that their provincial nomination is unrestricted

Note: Foreign nationals in the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) are eligible for a BOWP only if they have provided a copy of the nomination letter issued by the nominating province or territory along with their application and no employment restrictions of the nomination.

The following foreign nationals do not qualify for a BOWP:

  • foreign nationals in Canada under section 186 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), who are exempt from the work permit requirement;
  • foreign nationals who have let their status expire and must apply for restoration in order to return to temporary resident status; 
  • foreign nationals whose work permits are valid for longer than four months or who already have a new LMIA that can be used as the basis for a new work permit application; 
  • foreign nationals applying for a BOWP at a port of entry or visa office;
  • spouses and dependants of principal permanent resident applicants; and 
  • foreign nationals who are inadmissible to Canada.

Spouse or common-law partner and dependants of bridging open work permit (BOWP) holders:

For a  principal foreign worker who obtained a BOWP, the following eligibility requirements apply:

  • All principal foreign workers’ work permits must be valid for six months or longer. 
  • For spouses or common-law partners of federal skilled worker class (FSWC) applicants, the BOWP holder must be performing work that is at a level that falls within NOC skill levels 0, A or B. 
  • For spouses or common-law partners of federal skilled trades class (FSTC) applicants, the BOWP holder must be performing work that is within one of the skilled trade occupations in NOC skill level B. 
  • For spouses or common-law partners of provincial nominee class (PNC) applicants, the spouse or common-law partner is eligible for an open work permit for the duration of the work permit held by the principal PNC applicant, irrespective of the skill level of the principal PNC applicant’s occupation. 
  • For spouses or common-law partners of Canadian experience class (CEC) applicants, there are no set preconditions to be met by the principal CEC applicant. 
  • For spouses or common-law partners of caregiver applicants (caring for children class or caring for people with high medical needs class), the BOWP holder must be performing work within one of the qualifying occupations in NOC skill level 0, A or B.
  • Dependent children of a permanent residence applicant in any of these economic classes must obtain an LMIA or have an LMIA exemption based on their specific situation in order to apply for a work permit.

Employment location:

Provincial Nominee Class

For the Provincial Nominee Class the employment location on the work permit must be restricted to the nominating province. 

FSWC, FSTC, CEC and caregiver classes (caring for children class and caring for people with high medical needs class)

For a BOWP issued to Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class, Canadian Experience Class or caregiver classes applicants, there are no restrictions to employment location.