Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

The Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) allows a worker or professional to continue his or her stay in Canada while his or her application for permanent residence is in progress.

A foreign worker or professional who is working in Canada under a work permit holds only a temporary resident status in Canada. Such persons are expected to leave Canada when their temporary resident status expires. That is, when their work permit expires. However, under the Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) program, a worker or professional whose work permit will expire in less than four months may choose to apply for a bridging open work permit if he or she has successfully submitted an application for Canadian permanent residency under one (or more) of the below economic immigration programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC)
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

Once the bridging open work permit is issued, the person may continue to stay in Canada until the time Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has made a decision on his or her immigration application. This mitigates the risk of the person (along with family, if applicable) requiring to leave Canada, or, applying for a LMIA for the job with the current employer or a new one. The Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) allows the person to work for any employer anywhere in Canada. That is, there are no job-specific or geography-specific restrictions if a person is working in Canada under a bridging open work permit, except if the permit was issued based on a provincial nomination.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP), the following criteria are to be met:

  • The person must be inside Canada;
  • The person is having a temporary resident status (a valid work permit) in Canada;
  • The person’s work permit or resident status will expire in less than 4 months’ time;
  • The person is the principal (primary) applicant in an immigration application under one (or more) of the below immigration programs:
  • Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC)
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)
  • The person has received an eAPR acknowledgement letter (if applied through Express Entry), or similar confirmation (if non-Express Entry);
  • The person has submitted an application for an open work permit.

Open work permit for spouse or common-law partner of BOWP holders

The spouse or common-law partner of BOWP holders can apply for open work permit to work anywhere in Canada, provided the following criteria are met:

  • For the spouse or common-law partner of FSWC applicants, the BOWP holder must be working in a skilled job or profession that falls under either one of the below skilled occupation levels:
  • NOC Skill Level 0 (managerial)
  • NOC Skill Level A (professional)
  • NOC Skill Level B (technical)
  • For the spouse or common-law partner of FSTC applicants, the BOWP holder must be working in a skilled job or profession that falls under NOC Skill Level B (technical);
  • Spouse or common-law partner of PNP applicants, are eligible for an open work permit with the same duration as the BOWP. Here, the skill level of the applicant’s occupation has no contributing constraint;
  • For the spouse or common-law partner of CEC applicants, there are no conditions to be met by the principal (primary) applicant.

 

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