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

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