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Open Work Permits

Open Work Permits

Open Work Permits

Generally, a foreign national applying for a job in Canada is allowed to enter and work in the country only if they have a work permit. An open work permit is a work permit that is not applied to any specific occupation.

A work permit is a legal document that visitors to the country must produce if they are looking for employment in Canada. An open work permit allows them to work for multiple employers in various locations across Canada. There are different requirements and restrictions that foreign nationals must stringently observe if they want a smooth entry to Canada under the open work permit arrangement.

Open Work Permits are issued through the following immigration programs:

Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP)

Post-graduation work permits (PGWPs) are open work permits issued to international students looking to graduate from a Canadian program of study. The user of this permit can work for any employer from anywhere in Canada for as many hours as they wish. These permits are valid for a period ranging from eight months to three years and offer an excellent platform for gaining valuable work experience in Canada. With the work experience comes a host of potential job opportunities and a chance to gain permanent residency in Canada.

International Experience Canada (IEC)

International Experience Canada (IEC) is a series of programs designed specifically for young people from participating countries. They can use this open work permit to travel to Canada on a temporary basis. If you are a foreign national who has successfully obtained an IEC, you will be authorized to apply for a Canadian work permit without qualifying for the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). With the IEC, visitors can stay in Canada temporarily and legally for a maximum of one year.

 Inland Spousal or Common-Law Sponsorship

Foreign nationals sponsored by a spouse or common-law partner for permanent Canadian residency may qualify for an open work permit. First, they must apply for an open work permit from inside Canada using the inland spousal sponsorship process. They must also make sure they meet the full eligibility criteria needed for the program.

Bridging Open Work Permits (BOWP)

The Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) program permits foreign professionals presently serving in Canada to extend the period of their work permit even as they wait in anticipation of a decision on their application by the immigration authorities. The BOWP program is available only to those who have submitted a permanent residency application and have a work permit. If approved, the BOWP application can lead to an open work permit. This enables the holder of the permit to work for multiple employers and even in various locations within Canada.

A foreign national with a successful work permit application will be issued an open work permit. It allows them to work for multiple employers as their application for permanent residency application gets processed. The application process for spousal sponsorship open work permit differs on the basis of the status of the applicant in Canada and the status of their permanent residency application.

It must be noted that foreign nationals are not allowed to work in Canada without any appropriate authorization. Using the services of foreign nationals in any nature of employment in Canada is unlawful and illegal if the proper work permit is not in place. It can adversely affect their future applications for immigration.


To be eligible for a spousal sponsorship open work permit, you must have already applied for permanent residency sponsorship from inside Canada. If you have not done so, you may submit the sponsorship, permanent residence, and open work permit applications together in hard copy in a single package along with the necessary supporting documents.

If you have submitted a permanent residence application, but you have not yet received approval in principle, you can submit the open work permit application in hard copy to the relevant authorities. If you have received in-principle approval for permanent residency, the application for an open work permit may be submitted online or in hard copy to the appropriate authority.

Contact us if you want to know more about open work permits but don’t know where to ask. We are one of the leading immigration consultants in Canada and trusted for our impeccable services. We have helped many of our clients apply for open work permits successfully. Call us now to know more about open work permits and other immigration pathways.

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