Canadian Immigration News

Canada Introduces New Changes to the Bridging Open Work Permit

2.8 minute read
"Recently, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced certain changes to the Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) to make it more accessible to permanent residence applicants."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Nov 24, 2021
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Recently, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced certain changes to the Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) to make it more accessible to permanent residence applicants.

What Is the Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)?

The BOWP is an open work permit that allows permanent residence applicants to work anywhere in Canada for any employer while waiting for a decision on their application. 

What Changes Were Introduced to the Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)?

In September, the Canadian government removed the limit on when applicants could apply for a BOWP. Earlier, applicants were required to apply within 4 months of the expiration date of their current work permit

The government has also expanded the eligibility criteria for the BOWP to include foreign nationals with expired or implied status. As long as you are eligible for restoration of status, you may apply for a BOWP. Earlier you required a valid status as a temporary resident to be eligible for a BOWP. 

The BOWP eligibility criteria will now include the following types of applicants:

The BOWP issued to PNP applicants and Quebec Skilled Workers will be valid for 24 months or until their passport expires, whichever comes first. This will ensure that applicants have valid status in Canada until a decision on their permanent residence application is made. 

Spouses of BOWP applicants will not become automatically eligible for a BOWP. If they also want to work in Canada, they will have to apply as a spouse of a skilled worker or spouse of a Study Permit holder. These spouses are eligible to apply for a spousal Open Work Permit. 

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)?

A BOWP allows permanent residence applicants to reside in Canada while waiting for a decision on their application. This work permit does not require you to have a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). It also can not be applied at a Port of Entry (POE). You need to apply for a BOWP from within Canada. 

You must have applied for permanent residence through one of the following programs to be eligible for a BOWP:

How Can Spouses and Common-Law Partners of BOWP Holders Apply for a Work Permit?

Spouses and common-law partners of BOWP holders will be required to provide additional documentation as listed on the work permit holder’s instructions. The principal BOWP holder must have at least 6 months of validity on their work permit, regardless of the program they’ve applied for. The spouse or common-law partner may apply from within Canada or abroad. If both spouses are present in Canada, then they must apply for a BOWP together. Your spouse’s work permit will not be issued before yours, therefore, if they are residing abroad, they’ll have to wait for you to receive your BOWP to apply themselves. 

Based on the permanent residence program you applied for, your spouse or common-law partner will be required to meet different eligibility requirements. Your spouse will be eligible for a work permit if you are employed in a skilled occupation classified as National Occupational Classification (NOC) Skill level 0, A or B, provided you have applied for permanent residence through the following programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Caregiver applicants before June 18, 2019
  • Agri-Food Pilot

The QSWP and PNP applicants have no such requirement that will affect their spouse’s eligibility for a work permit. Applicants to the FSTP must be employed in a skilled trade occupation classified as NOC Skill level B for their spouse or common-law partner to be eligible for a work permit.

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