How to Apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

Last updated: 29 October 2021

BOWP

The Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) is a way to keep a worker in Canada while his or her application for permanent residence is being processed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Canada offers the BOWP as a way to help the immigrants of tomorrow prepare for their eventual settlement in Canada. This comprehensive CanadaVisa page provides an overview of how to get a BOWP.


Table of Contents


Overview

The Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) is a way to allow a foreign national in Canada to continue working while his or her application for permanent residence is being processed.

In-Canada applicants who have applied for permanent residence under one of the eligible economic immigration programs may be considered for a BOWP if they already hold a valid work permit, have maintained status and authorization to work as a result of submitting an application to renew their work permit, or are eligible to restore their temporary resident status with authorization to work on a work permit.

A foreign worker legally working in Canada who has submitted an application for permanent residence under the following economic immigration programs may then continue to work until a decision is made on his or her application for permanent residence:

This is beneficial for the federal government, Canadian communities and employers, as well as applicants and their families, because otherwise, applicants and their dependents (spouse and children) would have to either leave Canada temporarily, stay in Canada under visitor status, or find an employer willing to go through the process of applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

An open work permit, which allows its bearer to work for any employer in Canada, is preferable as it provides applicants with better flexibility to integrate and navigate the Canadian labour market, given that they have already been found eligible for permanent residence and are currently working in Canada.


Eligibility for Bridging Open Work Permits

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

  • The foreign national is currently in Canada after being authorized to enter as a temporary resident;
  • The foreign national: 
    • has valid status on a work permit, OR 
    • has maintained status and authorization to work in Canada under section 186(u) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) due to submitting an application to renew their work permit under subsection R201(1), OR 
    • is eligible to restore their temporary resident status with authorization to work on a work permit
  • Have submitted an Application for Permanent Residence (APR) as the principal applicant under one of the following programs:
  • Have completed one of the following APR stages depending on the program they are applying to:
    • electronic application for permanent residence submitted under Express Entry has passed the completeness check under Section 10 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations
    • APR under the Quebec skilled worker program passed the Section 10 of IRPR completeness check
    • Receipt of a positive eligibility assessment on their APR submitted by mail or online under the Caring for Children Class, Caring for People with High Medical Needs Class, Agri-Food Pilot, or non-Express Entry PNP stream.

Spouse or Common-law Partner and Dependants

Certain conditions are required to be met by the holder of a BOWP in order for his or her spouse to also be eligible for an open work permit:

  • holds a valid work permit or is authorized to work in Canada without a work permit under Section 186(w) of IRPR
  • is authorized to work in Canada for at least 6 months after the spousal open work permit application is received
  • is employed in one of the following:
  • is physically residing in Canada or plans to physically reside in Canada while employed
  • is in a genuine relationship with their spouse or common-law partner

Dependant children are not eligible for an open work permit. They must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or have an LMIA exemption based on their specific situation in order to be able to apply for a work permit.


Employment Location

IRCC has the following rules in place with respect to the employment location of certain applicants:

PNP

When issuing a BOWP to an applicant for permanent residence under a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), the employment location on the work permit must be restricted to the nominating province. Therefore, the province of destination must be selected and then the city of destination value should be selected to show the province/territory.

Quebec

When issuing a BOWP to applicants for permanent residence who have been selected by Quebec as skilled workers, the province of Quebec must be selected as the place of employment on the work permit.


Contact the Campbell Cohen Immigration Law Firm for Assistance

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