Changes to the Bridging Open Work Permits


A bridging open work permit is designed to essentially bridge the gap between the expiry of your current work permit and the final decision on your application for Canadian permanent residence. In order to do this, you must first have applied for permanent residence under one of these classes:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC)
  • The Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC)
  • The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • The Caring for Children Class or Caring for People with High Medical Needs Class; or
  • The Provincial Nominee Class (PNC) — unless you have employment restrictions imposed as part of the conditions of your provincial nomination.

Bridging Work Permit: Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a bridging work permit, you must meet the following requirements.

  • You must currently be living in Canada;
  • You must have a valid status on a work permit that is due to expire in four months or less;
  • You are currently the principal applicant on an application for permanent residence under the FSWC, the CEC, the FSTC, the PNC, or either of the caregiver classes highlighted above;
  • You have already received a positive eligibility assessment on your permanent residence application under one of the Economic Class programs;
  • You’ve applied for an open work permit; and
  • You have paid the full work permit processing fee and the Open Work Permit Holder fee.

Note: If you’re a foreign national currently participating in a PNP, you are only eligible for an open work permit if you have provided a copy of your nomination letter along with your application. There must be no indication that employment restrictions are in place as part of the conditions of your nomination.

You will also not qualify for a bridging work permit if:

  • You are a foreign national in Canada under section 186 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) (this means you are work permit exempt);
  • You are a foreign national who has allowed their status to expire and must now apply for restoration in order to return to temporary resident status;
  • You are a foreign national whose work permit is valid for over four months or if you already have a new LMIA that can be used to help you submit a new work permit application;
  • You are a foreign national applying for a bridging work permit at the port of entry;
  • You are a spouse or dependant of the principal permanent resident applicant

How to Find out If You’ve Received a Positive Eligibility Decision

According to CIC: “The bridging open work permit (BOWP) requires that the foreign nationals have submitted their application for permanent residence and that CIC has provided a “positive eligibility assessment”. The positive eligibility assessment is considered to be made when the applicants receive their Acknowledgement of Receipt letter (not notice the receipt of electronic submission).”

You should also be able to tell by visiting GCMS and looking for confirmation. This confirmation will vary depending on your type of application and when it was submitted. More detailed information for each program is mentioned here under ‘Determining if a positive eligibility decision has been made’.

More information about bridging open work permits can be found on the CIC website, including information on:

  • BOWP and the Express Entry system
  • How to determine if your nomination has employment restrictions
  • The issuance of a bridging open work permit
  • BOWP and employment locations
  • What BOWP means for spouse or common-law partner and dependents

Are You Interested in Applying for a Bridging Open Work Permit? 

Often, employment and business opportunities are time sensitive and for that reason having a legal representative in Canada with expertise in the area of work permits is the most efficient way to proceed. That is where we at Visaplace come in handy. We have helped thousands and thousands of people worldwide successfully enter Canada on a work permit and we are very certain we can help you too.

Getting started is easy, simply fill out our FREE immigration assessment form and we will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your eligibility and visa options.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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