Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)
BOWP is a program that allows a foreigner to remain in Canada while awaiting the processing of their Permanent Residency permit.
If your current work permit in Canada is expiring within the next four months, you may be eligible for a Bridging Open Work Permit. It applies to foreigners who have submitted their In-Canada applications for:
- The FSW ( Federal Skilled Worker) Class
- the FST (Federal Skilled Trades) Class
- the CEC (Canadian Experience Class)
- one of the PNPs ( Provincial Nominee Programs)
Thus, if a foreigner legally working in Canada will soon make or has already made a Canadian PR application under one of the immigration programs mentioned above, they may continue to work until immigration officials decide on their application for PR.
The Bridging Open Work Permit benefits every concerned party, including the applicant themselves, the federal government, employers, and their family members. The benefits of the program include:
- The applicant, plus their dependent children and spouse, do not have to temporarily leave Canada while awaiting a decision from IRCC on their permanent resident application.
- The alternative would be to stay in Canada on the inflexible Visitor’s Status, which denies someone some benefits
- Another option would be to look for an employer ready to undertake the laborious process of applying for an LMIA (Labor Market Impact Assessment). You’ll be lucky if you get one.
A BOWP, which allows a foreigner to work for any Canadian employer, offers its bearer more flexibility to navigate the labor market. After all, a foreigner holding a BOWP is already eligible for Canadian PR and is in the country already working.
BOWP and Express Entry
When you apply for PR by submitting your application for the Federal Economic Immigration Program (which is processed via the EE selection system), you receive an AOR (Acknowledgement of Receipt) letter. The generation of AOR in the MYCIC account is automatically done after submitting your e-APR (Electronica Application for Permanent Residency).
If you qualify for a BOWP, you can apply for it immediately upon receipt of the AOR letter. You don’t have to wait for another AOR that IRCC issues. However, the processing of any BOWP application can only commence after the Centralized Intake Office (CIO)has completed its checks. If your Electronic Application for Permanent Residency is found to be incomplete, your BOWP will be refused.
Eligibility criteria for BOWP
- The foreigner applying for BOWP must be in Canada.
- The applicant’s status should not have expired already (the work permit status should be expiring within the next 120 days.
- The candidate is the principal applicant for PR under the PNP, FSWP, FSTP, or the CEC.
- The applicant has obtained a favorable eligibility assessment.
- The foreigner has already applied for an Open Work Permit.
A person may be ineligible for BOWP under circumstances that include the following:
- They’re in the country as per Section 186 of the IRPR (Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations)
- The person’s status has already expired.
- The work permit is still valid for longer than 120 days, and they have obtained a new Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) that they can use to apply for a new work permit.
- The applicant is a dependent child, spouse, or common-law partner of a principal PR applicant.
- The foreigner has received a provincial nomination but hasn’t submitted a copy of their provincial nomination letter with the BOWP application.
- Persons whose provincial nomination letter contains specific job restrictions may also not be eligible for a BOWP.
Spouses (or common-law partners) and dependents
A foreigner holding a BOWP must meet certain conditions to allow their spouse or common-law partner to qualify for an Open Work Permit in Canada:
- The Principal applicant’s BOWP should still be valid for not less than 180 days
- A PNP applicant’s spouse may qualify for an open work permit only for the period the principal applicant’s work permit remains valid.
- For a spouse of an FSWP applicant, the BOWP holder must be in an occupation falling within NOC (National Occupational Classification) sill level A, B, or O
- For FSTP applicant’s spouse, the BOWP holder’s job in Canada must be falling within National Occupational Classification skill level B
- For the CEC applicant’s spouse, there aren’t any conditions that the principal applicant must meet.
If you’re a dependent child of an FSW, FST, CEC, or PNP applicant, you must either apply for a Labor Market Impact Assessment or apply for an exemption based on your unique circumstances before submitting your application for a Canadian work permit.
A. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
When IRCC issues a Bridging Open Work Permit to a PR applicant under the PNP category, the permit often restricts the job location to the nominating province. It means an applicant is required to choose their preferred province/territory and city for BOWPs that are applied under the Provincial Nominee program.
B. CEC, FSW, and FST
Canada doesn’t restrict employment location for BOWP applicants for the Canadian Experience Class, Federal skilled Worker Class, and the Federal Skilled Trades Class.