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Open Work Permits

An Open Work Permit refers to a work permit that allows foreign nationals to work for any Canadian employer and in location. In most cases, foreign nationals who want to live and work in Canada need to have a legal authorization known as a work permit, which can be granted when a candidate has a Canadian job offer or employment confirmation letter. Open Work Permits are not job-specific, and because of that, candidates will not need the following when certain documents when they apply for work permit:

  • a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), or
  • proof that an employer has submitted an offer of employment through the Employer Portal and paid the employer compliance fee.

Types of Open Work Permit

  1. Unrestricted Open Work Permits:  A foreign national can work for any employer and in any location in Canada. Under Unrestricted Open Work Permits applicants must pass a medical exam. In some circumstances, Unrestricted Open Work Permits can also be given to foreign nationals who: have failed the medical exam AND either have no other means of support or belong to certain groups of permanent residence applicants living in Canada.
  2. Restricted Open Work Permits: A foreign national can work only in specific kind of occupations or a specific location.

Under Restricted Open Work Permits, there are Occupation Restricted Open Work Permits and Location Open Work Permits.

  • Occupation Restricted Open Work Permits: restricts candidates from health care related jobs, because they have not completed a medical exam. Work natures that an individual won’t be allowed to work include,  child care, primary or secondary school teaching, health services occupations, and agricultural occupations.
  • Location Restricted Open Work Permits: allow candidates to work in only certain locations in Canada. Example, a bridging open work permit under the Provincial Nominee Program would restrict work to the province or territory that you’re residing.

What are the job exemptions in Unrestricted Open Work Permits?

Unrestricted Open Work Permits still exempts foreign nationals to work for the following categories of employers:

  • Ineligible employers that are noncompliant with the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) regulations
  • Employers offering striptease, erotic dance, escort services, or erotic massages

Eligibility Requirements for Open Work Permits

An applicant meeting any of these requirements are eligible to apply for Open Work Permit:

  • International students who have graduated from a Canadian institution and are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program
  • Student who’s no longer able to meet the costs of their own studies (destitute student)
  • Employer-specific work permit holder and are being abused or at risk of being abused in relation to your job in Canada 
  • Applied for permanent residence through the inland spousal sponsorship
  • Dependent family members of permanent residence applicants
  • Spouse or common-law partner of a foreign skilled worker or International Student
  • Spouse or common-law partner of an applicant of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program
  • Refugees, refugee claimants whose cases have not yet been heard or decided upon, protected persons, and their relatives
  • A young worker participating in programs offered by International Experience Canada (IEC) 

Note: The exact eligibility requirements and application procedure varies depending on which of the above situations a foreign national meets.

What are the Different Programs that Issue an Open Work Permit?

The following are the immigration programs that commonly grant Open Work permits:

Inland Spousal Sponsorship Open Work Permit: It’s for the spouses of Canadian citizens or permanent residents. An individual must have a valid temporary residence permit and an application for permanent residency under process to be eligible to apply.

Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP): Designed for international students who have graduated from a Canadian designated learning institution (DLI) which is eligible for the Post-Graduate Work Permit Program. Through this Open Work Permit, international students who have completed their studies can gain Canadian experience. The validity of this permit is based on the length of the student’s study program.

International Experience Class (IEC): It allows for young people (under 35 years) from participating countries to travel to Canada to live and work temporarily for a maximum of One year. 

Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP): It’s an open work permit valid for 6 months. Applicants are eligible to apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit if they have already applied for permanent residency under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the Canadian Experience Class or to the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Questions about Open Work Permit? You’re covered.

An individual is permitted to work 2 jobs and more than 60 hours per week on an open work permit.

Yes, you need a medical examination for an open work permit. Work permits, including open work permits, require you to pass a medical exam for temporary foreign worker applications. In some cases, you may be granted an occupation restricted work permit if fail your medical examination

No, you don't need LMIA or job offer to be eligible to apply for Open Work Permits. Open Work Permits are non-job specific and LMIA-exempted

There is no limit to the number of times an open work permit can be renewed. 

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