Bridging Open Work Permits

Picture of an interlocking bridgeI’ve received a lot of questions about bridging open work permits so I thought I’d take the opportunity  to address them here.

As I’ve written in this blog previously, Canada is moving towards having Canadian work experience prior to applying for permanent residence.

This is all fine and good, however, in the past, individuals working in Canada who applied for permanent residence often faced a major problem.  During the time their permanent residence application was being processed, their work permit could expire.

At that point, they had no right to keep working, and were at the mercy of HRSDC and whether their employer would receive another positive labour market opinion, and whether their new work permit application would be approved.

An application to remain as a visitor was always an option, but that meant not being able to work while the permanent residence application was in progress.  Otherwise, the individual would have to leave Canada, only to return after receiving permanent residence.

It made no sense.  Especially considering the fact that certain in-Canada applications entitles the individual to an open work permit.

That’s where the new bridging work permit comes in.

Who can apply for one?

A bridging open work permit is available to individuals resident in Canada who:

  • Have applied for permanent residence under the Skilled Worker Program, the Canada Experience Class, a Provincial Nominee Program or under the Federal Skilled Trades Program.
  • Have a valid work permit that will expire within 4 months.
  • Have already received confirmation from CIC that the application has been received that that you are eligible under one of the above programs.

What does it do?

A bridging open work permit allows to work for any employer you wish, in any province, until a decision is made on your PR application.  There is an exception for those who applied under a Provincial Nominee Program – they have to work in the province that nominated them.

How do I apply for one?

As with other applications for those in Canada, you need to complete the Application to Change Conditions Form IMM5710, and apply for an open work permit.  Be sure to include all the required supporting documentation as well.

If you meet the criteria (and you have no medical or criminal admissibility issues), then your open work permit should be issued and you can continue working while waiting for your PR to come through.

About the author

Gianpaolo Panusa Gianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada. Google+ Profile