Open Work Permit

Any foreign wishing to work in Canada must have the proper authorization. For the vast majority, this authorization comes in the form of a valid work permit. An open work permit allows a foreigner to work for any Canadian employer they want over a specified period. A worker may apply for an open work permit outside of Canada, within Canada or at a Canadian port of entry.

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Open Work Permit

Who can apply for an open work permit?

Open Work permits are highly required for the freedom they give to their holders. While most work permits are tied to a specific employer, an Open Work permit allows foreigners to work for any employer in Canada and have the freedom to move from location to location. Also, by getting Canadian work experience, many foreigners will improve their eligibility for Permanent Residency. You may be eligible for an open work permit if you are under one of the following categories.

International Graduates - Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)
International Graduates - Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

Post-graduation work permits (PGWPs) are open work permits given to international students who graduate from a Canadian program of study. PGWPs allow the holder to work for any employer, for as many hours they wish, anywhere in Canada.

Spouses or Common Law partners of temporary foreign workers or international students
Spouses or Common Law partners of temporary foreign workers or international students

You may be eligible for an open work permit if you are the spouse or common law partner of a temporary foreign workers or an international students. However, you need to meet some criteria before applying.

Spouses or common-law partners being sponsored under Inland Sponsorship
Spouses or common-law partners being sponsored under Inland Sponsorship

Foreign nationals being sponsored for Canadian permanent residence by their spouse or common-law partner may be eligible to apply for an open work permit.

International Experience Canada (IEC)
International Experience Canada (IEC)

International Experience Canada (IEC) is a set of programs enabling young people from participating countries to travel to Canada to live and work temporarily.

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Who can apply for an Open Work Permit?

You may be eligible for an open work permit if you fall under one of the following categories:

You are an international student who has graduated from a designated educational institution and is eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.
You have applied for permanent residence in Canada under one of Canada’s immigration programs.
You are a dependent family member (e.g., spouse or common-law partner) of a person who has applied for permanent residence.
You are the spouse or common-law partner of a skilled worker or international student.
You are a temporary resident permit holder.
You are a refugee, asylum seeker, protected person or their family member.
You are under an unenforceable removal order.
You are a young worker participating in the Working Holiday program.
You are a student who is unable to meet the costs of studies.
You have a work permit specific to your employer and are being abused or are at risk of being abused in the course of your employment in Canada.

How do I apply for an Open work permit?

You can apply for an Open Work permit from inside Canada or from outside Canada. The application process and the forms you will need to submit will vary depending on where you are applying. In both cases, the procedure will include specified forms and payment of the processing fee.

What are the eligibility requirements for Open Work Permits?

The requirements and application procedure differ depending on each case. To be eligible, you need to classified under one of these categories:

Permanent residence applicants residing in Canada.
Spouses or common-law partners sponsored under Inland Sponsorship.
Spouses or common-law partners of temporary foreign workers.
Spouses or common-law partners of international students.
International Graduates and their spouses or common-law partners.
International Experience Canada Participants.

What is an Open Work Permit?

Most foreigners who want to work in Canada must have legal authorization. Open Work permits are one of many work permits that allow foreign workers to work in Canada legally.
There are two types of work permits in Canada: closed work permits tied to a single employer and open work permits that allow foreigners to work in Canada for any number of employers and in various locations.
The most significant advantage of Open Work permits is that they allow freedom of movement, whether it is between workplaces, employers, occupations or locations. You do not need to have a job offer or a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment to be eligible for an open work permit.
Some open work permits may, however, have additional requirements that applicants must meet. If applicable, these requirements will be indicated directly on your Open Work permit.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long it takes to get an Open Work Permit ?

It can take between 3 and 27 weeks, depending on your country of citizenship.

How do I Apply for an Open Work Permit?

You can apply for an open work permit from inside Canada or from outside Canada. The application process and the forms you will need to submit will vary depending on where you are applying from. In both cases, the procedure will include the submission of a specified form and payment of the open work permit holder fee as well as the work permit processing fee at the same time.

How much money do I need to apply for an open work permit in Canada?

It depends on your family members and the immigration program you are applying to.

Is the IELTS test required for an Open Work Permit?

It is not required.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for Open Work Permits?

The eligibility requirements and application procedure differ depending on the specific situation of each individual. The following are examples of common reasons that can make one eligible for an open work permit:

Permanent residence applicants residing in Canada

You and your spouse or common law partner may be eligible for a Bridging Open Work Permit if you reside in Canada, have an expiring work permit and have submitted an application for permanent residence through a federal or provincial economic class program (Note: the BOWP is not available in Quebec, but alternative work permits exist in Quebec).

Spouses or common-law partners being sponsored under Inland Sponsorship

Spouses and common-law partners of Canadians or Permanent Residents may be granted an open work permit if they are being sponsored for permanent residence through Inland Sponsorship and meet eligibility criteria under that sponsorship immigration program.

Spouses or common law partners of temporary foreign workers

You may be eligible for an open work permit if you are the spouse or common law partner of temporary foreign worker who has employment in Canada in a job corresponding to Skill Level 0, A or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) for a period of at least six months and who resides or intends to reside in Canada.

Spouses or common-law partners of international students

To be eligible for an open work permit as a spouse or common-law partner of an international student, you cannot be a full-time student yourself.

Your international student spouse or partner must have a valid study permit and be a full-time student at one of these types of schools:

a public post-secondary school, such as a college or university, or CEGEP in Quebec.
a private college-level school in Quebec.
a Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law (for example, Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree).
International Graduates and their spouses and common law partners

To be eligible for an open work permit, students who have graduated from a designated program of study in Canada must meet the requirements under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. To be eligible for a PGWP, a foreign national must be at least 18 years of age and have studied full-time in Canada in a program of at least 8 months at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

You may also be eligible for an open work permit if you are the spouse and common-law partner of a post-graduation work permit holder. These open work permits generally have a validity date that corresponds to the period during which their spouse is authorized to work in Canada.

International Experience Canada Participants

Participants in the International Experience Canada (IEC) program may also be able to obtain an open work permit under the Working Holiday category. IEC is open to young adults who are citizens of foreign countries which have reciprocal agreements with Canada. The eligible age range depends on the country, but is usually between 18 and 35 years old.