Am I eligible for a Bridging Open Work Permit?

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: June 26, 2024

Bridging Open Work Permits (BOWPs) are for foreign nationals looking to continue working in Canada while their permanent residence (PR) application is being processed.

Without a BOWP, foreign nationals – alongside their families, including spouses, common-law partners and dependents – would need to leave Canada temporarily, stay in Canada under visitor status (which means they would have to cease working), or find an employer willing to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Schedule a Free Work Permit Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

Note: Compared to work permits requiring an LMIA, open work permits like a BOWP provide flexibility for the permit holder. This is because open work permits (OWPs) allow the holder to work for most employers in most industries across Canada.

Who is eligible for a BOWP?

To be eligible for a BOWP, foreign nationals must:

  • Currently be in Canada, after being authorized to enter as a temporary resident (TR)
  • Hold valid status in Canada in one of three ways:
    • Hold a valid work permit
    • Have maintained status alongside authorization to work (after applying to renew their work permit)
    • Be eligible to restore their temporary resident status*
  • Have submitted a PR application under one of seven eligible economic immigration programs:
  • Complete one of the following Application for Permanent Residence (APR) stages (depending on which economic immigration program the applicant applied to):
    • Express Entry: Electronic Application for Permanent Residence (eAPR) has passed the completeness check under Section 10 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).
    • QSW Program: APR has passed the completeness check under Section 10 of the IRPR.
    • All other BOWP-eligible programs: Candidate has received a positive eligibility assessment on their APR.

*Foreign nationals who are eligible for TR status restoration must also have authorization to work on a work permit.

More: Click here for more information on the BOWP, including how to apply and what documentation is required with this application

Are the family members of a BOWP holder eligible for an open work permit?

OWP eligibility varies based on how the family member is related to the BOWP holder.

Spouse or Common-law partner

The spouse or common-law partner of a BOWP holder may be eligible for an OWP if they – meaning the BOWP holder – meet the following conditions:

Dependent children

Meanwhile, the dependent children of a BOWP holder are not eligible for an OWP. Instead, to apply for a work permit, they must obtain an LMIA or receive an LMIA exemption.

What conditions does IRCC put on the location of employment for BOWP applicants?

As mentioned, OWPs allow holders flexibility regarding who they can work for and their ability to change employment. However, for BOWPs, conditions can be placed on the employment location of holders in two specific circumstances.

PNP applicants

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) mandates that PNP applicants who apply for a BOWP are restricted to employment locations (for their BOWP) located in the nominating province or territory.

Quebec applicants

QSW program applicants must select the province of Quebec as their place of employment when applying for a BOWP.

Schedule a Free Work Permit Consultation with the Cohen Immigration Law Firm

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at
Related articles
New data suggests growing demand for temporary foreign workers in several Canadian industries
This illustrates the continuation of an upward trend – save for 2020, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic – that has persisted since at least 2016.
Finding your first job as an international graduate in Canada 
candidate's waiting for a job interview in an office.
Six frequently asked questions about Canadian work permits
A group of working professionals, in an office building.
Frequently asked questions about visas for students, workers and tourists coming to Canada
A picture of the Toronto Skyline at night
Top Stories
New data suggests growing demand for temporary foreign workers in several Canadian industries
Ontario, British Columbia, Manitoba, and PEI nominate newcomers for provincial immigration
IRCC’s update on its plan to attract global talent
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Canada
IRCC’s update on its plan to attract global talent
Sunlight on an airplane wing
Study finds more newcomers are considering moving to escape housing costs
Typical homes in Canada
How to take a break from your studies and maintain eligibility for a work permit
A student at the airport looking at flight times.
Two Canadian cities among the most livable in the world, as Toronto drops out of the top 10
A view of the sunset in Calgary at a lake.
Link copied to clipboard