The Bridging Open Work Permit Canada (BOWP) is a welcome innovation from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). It enables you to continue working for an employer while you have a permanent residency application under process.
In most cases, the applicants for permanent residence in Canada are from within Canada. These are people who are already on valid Canadian work permits. IRCC created the Bridging Open Work Permit to keep them in Canada.
IRCC realized that skilled workers who have applied for permanent residency programs with valid work status are waiting for a decision. Their work status may expire before a decision is made. So, these applicants are provided work permits to bridge the gap between their work permit expiry and the decision on the application for permanent residence.
Applicants who have applied for one of the following permanent residency applications are eligible for the Bridging Open Work Permit.
- Permanent residence using Express Entry
- Federal Skilled Trades Class
- Federal Skilled Workers Class
- Canadian Experience Class
- Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
- Home Child-Care Provider Pilot
- Caring for children class or people with high medical needs class
- Agri-Food Pilot
Besides that, you must meet the basic eligibility requirements that are:
- You must have a valid Canadian work permit.
- Your work permit is due to expire in four months.
There are also general requirements that apply to all applicants, regardless of which type of work permit you apply for or where you apply.
- You must show that you have enough funds to support your stay in Canada and return home.
- You must have no record of criminal activity in Canada (You may need to furnish a police clearance certificate to IRCC).
- It would help if you obeyed the laws of Canada.
- It would help if you did not pose a threat to Canada’s security.
- You must be in good health and go through a medical examination if needed.
- You should not have a plan to work for an employer as “Ineligible” on the list of employed who failed to comply with the conditions.
- You should not have a plan to work for an employer who offers services like striptease, erotic dance, escort services, or erotic massages.
- You must furnish any other related documents demanded by the officer.
- You must also prove to the officer that you will leave Canada when your work permit expires.
When to apply for the Bridging Open Work Permit?
If you have applied for permanent residency using the Express Entry system, you can apply for Bridging Open Work Permit Canada as you receive your Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR). Acknowledgment receipts can automatically be received on your Express Entry account after submitting your application. You need to add your AoR as a supporting document.
However, keep in mind that your Bridging Open Work Permit will not be issued until your PR application has been checked for completeness by IRCC. It is done within the first couple of months of your application processing.
If you have applied BOWP on paper, via mail, then you wait until you receive your Acknowledgement of Receipt (AoR) via mail or e-mail. The IRRC will first assess that your application passes the eligibility check and then issue the AoR after clearance.
Restrictions on the PNP program
You need to be careful if you are applying for permanent residence under the PNP program. You will need to ensure that while following the BOWP application procedure, you are selecting the province or territory you are being nominated by in the Province and City Destination section.
Also, if you are applying without a provincial nomination, you must select Unknown (UNK) in the Province and City of Destination section. There may be employment restrictions on your certification of nomination. If it says “Yes” in the restrictions section, you are not eligible for the Bridging Open Work Permit.
How to apply for the Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)?
Regardless of your location, whether in Canada or outside, you must submit your work permit application online. That is also the case with BOWP applications. However, there is an exception in disabled individuals or applicants with valid reasons that prevent them from an online application.
The process of the BOWP application is similar to a regular work permit application. You will need to create an online application, fill out your details and upload all the supporting documents. If you do not know how to apply, you can hire a professional to help you.
Nonetheless, it would be wise to apply online as the processing times are quicker than sending your application through courier services.
When opting for an online application procedure, make sure that you:
- Select the Open Work Permit as the type of permit.
- Pay the processing fee along with the open work permit holder fee.
Benefits to the BOWP applicants’ family members
You may have your family members like your spouse or common-law partner and children. You can consequently apply for the following services:
- You can apply for a work permit for your spouse or joint partner, provided your BOWP is valid for longer than six months.
- You can get a visitor’s record for your minor children.
- Your dependent adult children are also eligible to apply for a separate study or work permit.
The above-said services are subject to government fees and submission of application forms and relevant supporting documents.