December 15, 2012 – The newly created Bridging Open Work Permit allows those with an application in process for permanent residence in certain economic classes to continue working while awaiting a final decision on their application.
To be eligible an applicant must hold a valid work permit that will expire within 4 months, currently be in Canada, and have received Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s confirmation that their application is eligible in either the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Trades Program or the Provincial Nominee Program.
This work permit is valid for one year from the date it is issued, and therefore extends the applicant’s temporary resident status for that additional time.
Open work permits were previously issued only to those from in-Canada streams including the Live-in Caregiver Class and Spouse or Common-law Partner in Canada Class. Individuals in these streams are still eligible for open work permits. The introduction of the bridging open work permit extends the advantages of an open work permit to the four economic classes noted above.
The purpose of the bridging open work permit is to simplify the options available to those whose wait for a decision on their permanent residence applications may be longer than their temporary work permit. Previously, if such a work permit was about to expire, the individual would have had only two options; either apply to stay in Canada as a visitor without a work permit, or have their employer apply for a Labour Market Opinion from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada in order to apply for an extension of their work permit.
With the exception of those applying under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), the bridging open work permit does not restrict holders to any geographic region of Canada. Those applying under the PNP must work only in the province from which they seek nomination.
Applicants who have not taken a medical examination for the purposes of their current status in Canada or for their application for permanent residence are restricted from working in childcare, primary or secondary school teaching, health services, or agriculture.
– Written by Richard McKergow, a Paralegal licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada and guest author on this site.