Canada is committed to retaining the talented temporary foreign workers it needs to ensure continued economic growth. This includes making sure that temporary foreign workers are able to make a smooth transition to Canadian Permanent Residency if they so choose.
Beginning on December 15th, 2012, the Government of Canada introduced the Bridging Open Work Permit. This permit helps temporary foreign workers remain in Canada during their permanent residency application process. This takes pressure off of both workers and their Canadian employers, and allows them to continue working in Canada while waiting to hear word on the immigration application.
What is the Bridging Open Work Permit (BWP)?
It is not unusual for a foreign worker to realize that their temporary work permit is set to expire during the course of their permanent residency application process. Before the BWP, they were required to undergo the lengthy process of applying for work permit renewal if they wished to continue working in Canada. If a work permit could not be obtained, the individual (and their family) had the choice to either stay in Canada as a visitor, thus foregoing an income from work, or to leave the country until a permanent resident visa was issued.
Now, existing temporary foreign workers can apply for an Open BWP as long as they:
- are currently in Canada;
- have valid status on a work permit that is due to expire within 4 months;
- have received confirmation from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that their permanent resident application under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Trades Program, or a Provincial Nominee Program is eligible for processing
Do you have Confirmation of Eligibility for your PR Application?
The confirmation of eligibility is usually issued for applications under the Federal Skilled Worker Program when a positive Final Determination of Eligibility letter has been sent or emailed by the Central Intake Office (CIO). For the Canadian Experience Class , the Federal Skilled Trades Program , and the Provincial Nominee Programs, confirmation of eligibility is usually communicated when an Acknowledgement of Receipt has been sent by letter or email.
If you do not have either of these documents, you will need to contact CIC or request a copy of the notes relating to your Immigration application to determine whether your PR application has been found eligible for processing.
Receiving a Bridging Open Work Permit
A BWP is valid for 1 year after its issuance. During this time, it should be possible for an individual to receive a decision on their permanent residency application. If no decision is received, a request for extension of a BWP will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
If an applicant is applying for permanent residency through a Provincial Nominee Program, the open work permit will be restricted to the specific province the applicant has applied to.
“This work permit offers some long-awaited help to both foreign workers and employers alike,” said Attorney David Cohen. “By allowing foreign workers to easily stay and work while their permanent residency application is being processed, the Canadian government is underscoring just how highly they value these individuals.”
To find out if you are eligible for a Briding Open Work Permit, please contact Campbell Cohen today.