The Bridging Open Work Permits (BOWP, sometimes referred to as a ‘bridging visa’) is a much welcome innovation from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
In many cases, permanent residence applicants applying from within Canada are on a valid Canadian work permit. The Bridging Open Work Permit was created as a way to keep workers in Canada working while their applications for permanent residency are processed.
IRCC realized that applicants to certain permanent residence programs who had valid work status in Canada — but whose work status may run out before a decision was made on their application for permanent residence — would benefit from a work permit to ‘bridge’ the gap between the expiry of their current work permit and the decision on the application for permanent residence.
You may be eligible if you applied to one of the permanent residence programs below.
1. Permanent residence using Express Entry:
2. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
3. Home Child-Care Provider Pilot or Home Support Worker Pilot
4. Caring for children class or caring for people with high medical needs class
5. Agri-Food Pilot
To be eligible, you must:
If you are residing in Quebec, you will not be eligible for the BOWP. However, if you have a "Certificat de Selection du Québec (CSQ)", you can be issued a employer-specific Work Permit with your current or a new employer. You will also not need to provide a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
When you submit your BOWP application, include:
Follow the instructions for extending or changing the conditions on your work permit.
When you apply, make sure you:
In most cases, you must apply online.
When applying for a Bridging Open Work Permit, Express Entry applicants must provide all supporting documents listed in their document checklist. Applicants must also include a copy of their Acknowledgment of Receipt letter. Express Entry applicants receive this letter automatically when IRCC receives the application.
There are no restrictions to employment location for applicants under the FSWC, CEC, or FSTC (i.e. the three federal programs managed under Express Entry).
Applicants who applied for a program outside the Express Entry receive the Acknowledgment of Receipt letter after IRCC verifies that the application is complete.
Applicants under a PNP should note the following:
The spouse or common-law partner of a Bridging Open Work Permit applicant may also be eligible to obtain a work permit in Canada. The spouse or partner may apply at the same time as the principal applicant.
BOWP and their spouses or common-law partners should note the following requirements:
You need to pay the work permit processing fee ($155) and the Open Work Permit Holder fee ($100). If you apply on paper, you can pay the $255 fee here.
A BOWP is processed within approximately 60 days if online, and 100 days if on paper.
You can check the processing times here. You need to select "Visiting, studying, working temporarily", then "Work Permit Extension (new employer)".
Due to COVID-19, no application in progress will be closed or refused due to a lack of documentation. IRCC will automatically give you 90 days to complete the steps needed to complete your application (such as providing biometrics, submitting passport or supporting documents, completing medical exam, etc.). Once you’re able to, complete the steps as soon as possible to avoid delays. Use the web form to upload any missing document.