open work permit



While there are employer specific work permits, there are also Open Work Permit’s which are a popular pathway for workers who want to come to Canada and work with more flexibility in their working environment.

All the conditions for the work permit will be provided on the permit itself, so for instance if you did not do a medical, you will be restricted to certain occupations. There are standard clauses where you will not be allowed to work in adult related occupations. Some common types of open work permits are:

Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)
  • This permit is used to “bridge” people who have a work permit and are currently well into the process of an economic program and need to continue working
Post Grad Work Permit (PGWP)
  • This permit is for graduates of PGWP eligible programs at authorized Canadian educational instruction who have studied for minimum 1 year.
Spousal Open Work Permit
  • This is issued to the spouse of a worker who is working in a Skilled job and on an approved work or study permit or to a spouse who is currently being sponsored under the In Canada Spousal Sponsorship.

These programs allow applicants to gain work experience without the need for an LMIA or job offer, if you can meet the other requirements and the various exemptions that are available for these areas.


These programs are constantly changing, and the requirements are different for each pathway. As such, we have chosen not to list the requirements here as they are very specific and the information is quite dynamic, in that it changes regularly in a Post COVID world with different interim policies that are in effect for varying times. At the time of writing, you can check for any policies in place for eligibility and meeting the requirements but briefly some of the requirements are each are as follows:

To apply, some general eligibility requirements are that you:

  • Be residing in Canada
  • Have a valid work permit
  • Are the principal application on a PR application
  • Applied for a PR application (such as CEC or FSW under Express Entry) and have received an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) and passed the completeness check.

To apply, some general eligibility requirements are that:

  • Apply within 180 days from graduation, and met one of the following criteria:
    • have a valid study permit
    • held a valid study permit or
    • were authorized to study in Canada without the requirement to obtain a study permit under paragraphs 188(1)(a) and (b)
  • you completed a program at an eligible institution in Canada that is at least 8 months in duration leading to a degree, diploma or certificate
  • you maintained full-time student status in Canada during each academic session (s) of the program (s), with certain exception such as for leave of absences.
  • You received a transcript and an official letter confirming your completion of studies from the eligible institution

To apply, some general eligibility requirements are that:

  • You are in a marriage or common-relationship and your spouse or common-law partner is in Canada. You will need to show proof of your relationship, such as a marriage certificate
  • Your spouse or common-law partner has a study permit and studies on a full-time basis in a post-graduation work permit-eligible study program
  • You are applying under the Spouse or Common-Law Partner in Canada Class and maintain legal status as a temporary resident in Canada, such as a visitor
  • Your spouse or common-law partner has a valid open work permit, and they are working in a NOC 0, A or B occupation


As a worker in Canada on an open work permit, you can gain relevant work experience to qualify for permanent residence. Since you are already in Canada, if you want to stay longer or work for another employer, this is a smoother process than someone applying outside of Canada as this will allow you to apply for a “Change of Conditions” and while you are still held to the same standard, applying in Canada has it’s advantages as you have already complied with the relevant program and now have a documented history as such. If you are a student who wants to transition to a worker or if you want your spouse to work alongside you. The program allows family members to stay in Canada together by allowing spouses to be open work permit holders. You can also use this extra time as a temporary resident in Canada to qualify for permanent residency and in the future, Citizenship, once all the residency requirements are met.


While everyone’s case and circumstances are different, there are some common traps, pitfalls, and misconceptions when it comes to applying under this program. Here are some general and common ones we have experienced and encountered throughout the years:

Not necessarily. Depending on the type of work permit you were issued, there might be limits on how you can work. For example, while you can work for any employer, if you didn’t do a medical exam, you may be restricted with certain jobs that require that done, such as childcare or medical related fields. Furthermore, some work permits have a specific location on them, so you can only work in that area or city. If you want to work in another province, you will need to apply for a change of condition.

In most cases, YES, due to falling under something called Maintained Status. Under “Maintained Status”, a temporary resident can continue to work in Canada under the same conditions without a permit [R186] while they are waiting for the decision of their submitted application. If you’ve applied for the work permit extension, before your current work permit expires, then you can continue to work and stay in Canada, while waiting for the file results. You are considered to have legal status as a temporary resident during the processing period.

To be considered common-law partners, you must have cohabited for at least one year in an interdependent relationship – like a married couple. You will need to show the declaration form for common-law and then any documents as proof of joint dwelling, affairs, and finances. Some documents for examples can be joint bank statements and bills. There can be confusion as to whether relationship will be considered common-law, as it will depend on the relationship. This can be challenging for some people, and you should not take for granted this status as they may not choose to accept your partner, and this may thwart your plans.

It can be some for people! But there are different requirements, and everyone’s case is unique. What works for one person may not be the same for you. While you can try and do it yourself, you are also taking the risk/responsibility if you do get refused and depending on your situation it is entirely plausible that this could spiral into a situation that may have very negative impacts on your future in Canada. Our services and guidance allow you to maximize your options and gain knowledge to have the strongest case possible.

There is common confusion regarding family members and what is required from them, especially whether they are accompanying or non-accompanying. For example, there are certain requirements from a spouse/partner when they apply for their open work permit, such as employment documents which will affect this. It is important to note that these permits can be refused if not done properly, if key documentation is not supplied or the requirements are not met in the application.


We understand that information can be found on the Internet and there are lots of other consultants or lawyers out there, so things can certainly get confusing very quickly for you. However, our value is in our services and how can simplify a sometimes-complicated process while anticipating and proactively making this whole process easy for you, from the start to the end of your immigration journey. We will guide you and provide:

  • An affordable service with an individualized payment schedule to suit any budget
  • Comprehensive documents required for the process, including information and tips that can’t be found on the IRCC website
  • Personalized immigration advice and solutions that are tailored to your case
  • Collaboration with a licensed immigration consultant who will communicate and represent your case on your behalf
  • Support and Assistance through every stage of the process, from the application to the arrival in Canada.


A: That depends! A work permit only allows you to work. When it comes to visiting, that will depend on your country of citizenship and/or residence. If you’re from a country that requires a visitor visa (known as a TRV), such as India, then you will need a valid Visa in your passport to enter back into Canada. While you do have a valid work permit, you need that valid Visa to come back into the country.

A: Yes & Maybe. This can be a bit tricky as you must meet all the requirements to be eligible for the PGWP. During COVID there were policies put in place which allowed for more leeway in this regard. Our consultants can discuss your work experience and what the best pathways are for you in a consultation.

A: You are eligible for a “Bridging Open Work Permit” if you meet the requirements such as being the principal applicant on your PR file and having your acknowledgement of receipt (AOR) while passing the completeness check.

A: The processing times for different files will vary. While there are standard processing times on the government website, these tend to not be accurate and will fluctuate based on current case loads.

A: Our files are applied for online as this is the most efficient method and the quickest way to receive correspondence from IRCC and keep track of the file progress, compared to if you applied for it on paper.

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