Bridging Open Work Permit in Canada


Continue working without interruptions while you wait for your PR decision in Canada

Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) Introduction

Applicants who submitted a Permanent Residence application to immigrate to Canada under:

  • Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Class,
  • Federal Skilled Trades (FST) Class,
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC),
  • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) or
  • Caregivers Programs for Permanent Residence

and are currently inside Canada, may apply for bridging open work permit (BOWP) if their current work permit is expiring in the following four (4) months. This is a great solution for the applicants and their dependents as well as Canadian government, employers, and others, otherwise they would have to:

  • leave Canada until their application is processed or
  • stay in Canada as visitors or

find an employer willing to provide a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

The principle applicant on PR application that has passed the completeness check, is living in Canada, holding a valid work permit valid for another 04 months or less and having acknowledgment of receipt letter may apply for BOWP.

BOWP is an open work permit, which allows the work permit holder to work for any employer in Canada. It provides the applicants a way to integrate through the Canadian labour market, if they have already been found eligible for permanent residence and are currently residing and working in Canada.

If the applicant is residing in Quebec, then he or she is not eligible for BOWP. However, if the applicant is holding a valid Quebec Selection Certificate, then the person may be eligible for an employer-specific work permit.

BOWP Eligibility and Requirements

To be eligible for BOWP the person must:

  • be the principal applicant on the PR application,
  • live in Canada (Quebec is not included),
  • be a holder of a valid work permit for 04 months or less
  • receive a positive assessment on their PR application
  • apply for an open work permit.

Requirements may differ depending on the submitted application for PR under the following programs:

  • PR under Express Entry (EE)
  • Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
  • Home Child-Care Provider Pilot or Home Support Worker Pilot
  • Caring for children class or caring for people with high medical needs class
  • Agri-Food Pilot

Some foreign nationals are not qualified for BOWP if:

  • their work permit expired,
  • their work permit is valid for longer then 04 months and/or is holding a new LMIA that can be used for a new work permit application,
  • they are applying for BOWP at the POE / outside Canada,
  • they are under section 186 of the IRPR (work permit exempt),
  • the applicant did not submit a PNP letter with their BOWP application or PNP letter has restrictions for employment,
  • they are inadmissible to Canada.

Foreign nationals must also have positive eligibility assessment completeness check in APR stage; electronic application for permanent residence (e-APR) or paper APR depending on the type of application.

The applicant can apply for BOWP if he or she meets all the eligibility requirements and even before the APR is processed however, the application for BOWP will not be processed until the completeness checks are performed by Centralized Intake Office (CIO). In case an APR is incomplete, the application for BOWP will be refused.

Apply for BOWP upon receipt of your Acknowledgment of Receipt letter.

Eligibility and Requirements

Apply for BOWP before your current work permit expires


Select open work permit option when applying for BOWP

BOWP Process

After applicant submits the correct form for BOWP and encloses all requested documents, the officer will process their application. Employer’s name on the application is not necessary as the officer assesses the application as per the eligibility requirements.

Upon receipt of BOWP application with supporting documents, the processing office confirms the eligibility requirements.

Some applications may be considered as more complex and are therefore transferred to a local office for additional review. If the issue on the application is resolved, the same office may issue the work permit as per the same instructions.

The holder of BOWP must meet certain required conditions in order for their spouse or common-law partner and dependents to be eligible for an open work permit.

Supporting documents

Prepare the right documents and pay the fees upon submission of your BOWP application

BOWP Supporting Documents

In addition to the required forms and documents, the applicant must also pay the processing fees for work permit and the open work permit holder fee.

The BOWP must be valid for 06 months or longer for the spouse or common-law partner and dependants to be eligible for open work permit.

There are different conditions required for spouses of applicants to obtain open work permit (OWP) depending on the type of PR application of the principal applicant as follows: –

FSW – applicants must be performing work at a skilled level of National Occupational Classification (NOC) i.e., 0, A or B for the spouses to obtain OWP.

PNP – spouses receive same duration of OWP as the principal applicant, regardless of the skill level of the principal PNP applicant’s occupation.

FST – applicants and holders of BOWP must be performing work at Skill Level B NOC.

CEC – no special conditions need to be met by the principal applicant.

Follow the document checklist as instructed, considering the type of PR application of the principal applicant.

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