Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

The Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) is the process of applying for an extension of a work permit for an international student or employer wants to continue working. At the same time, his or her application for permanent residence is being processed.

If you’re in Canada and applied for permanent residency through certain immigration programs, you might get a BOWP if you already have a valid work permit. This applies if you’re renewing your work permit or fixing your temporary resident status. As long as you’ve applied for permanent residency through specific economic immigration programs, you can keep working until they decide on your permanent residency application.

Note: Your application must be in progress, if your application is in the pool does not qualify to apply for BOWP.

Eligibility for Bridging Open Work Permit

To be eligible for a BOWP, applicants must have applied for permanent residency as the main applicant under programs like:

Note: You will only be eligible for BOWP if you have received an Invitation or AOR (Acknowledgment of Receipt) from any of these programs under mentioned above. If your file is waiting under the pool you won’t be eligible for AOR.

Other Eligibility Criteria BOWP

  • Reside in Canada with valid temporary resident status
  • Has valid status on a work permit
  • Has kept their status and the right to work in Canada under section 186(u) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR)by applying to renew their work permit under subsection R201(1)
  • Can restore their temporary resident status with the ability to work on a work permit

They have completed one of the following APR stages depending on the program they’re applying to

  • Electronic application for permanent residence (e-APR) under Express Entry passed the R10 completeness check for the following classes: FSWC, CEC, FSTC, and PNP (provincial or territorial Express Entry stream).
  • APR under the QSWC passed the R10 completeness check.
  • Positive eligibility assessment received for non-Express Entry APR submitted by mail or online under classes or pilots: caring for children, caring for people with high medical needs, AFP, PNP (non-Express Entry), HCCPP or HSWP after completing qualifying work experience.

How long is a bridging open work permit valid?

A bridging open work permit is valid for 24 months or more but in some cases, application for permanent residency takes more than the validity of a bridging open work permit then another extension may be issued for another 12 months.

Can I add my Spouse or Common- Law Partner and Dependants with BOWP?

Yes, you may be able to include your spouse or common-law partner and dependents if you hold a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) application, depending on the specific program and eligibility criteria.

Spouse or Common-law Partner and Dependants

  • Holds a valid work permit or is allowed to work in Canada without a work permit under Section 186(w) of IRPR.
  • Is authorized to work in Canada for at least 6 months after receiving the spousal open work permit application.
  • Employed in one of the following:
    • Job falling under National Occupational Classification (NOC) Skill Levels 0, A, or B. NOC 0, A, B, or C application under the
    • Atlantic Immigration Pilot. Any occupation with a formal provincial nomination certificate. Any occupation with a formal Quebec Selection Certificate.
    • If the Bridging Open Work Permit holder is the spouse or common-law partner of an FSTC applicant, their work must align with NOC skill level B.
    • There are no specific occupation skill level requirements for the principal CEC applicant’s spouse or common-law partner in the case of CEC applicants.

Dependant children who on someone can’t get a work permit easily. To apply for one, they either need permission through a special work assessment (LMIA) or an exemption from it, depending on their situation.

Bridging Open Work Permit Express Entry & Non-Express Entry

CategoryBridging Open Work Permit Requirements
Express Entry ApplicantsExpress Entry applicants must submit all specified supporting documents listed in their document checklist for the Bridging Open Work Permit. Additionally, they need to include a copy of their automatically generated Acknowledgment of Receipt letter, received when the application is processed by IRCC.
Employment Location RestrictionsApplicants under the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), or Federal Skilled Trades Class (FSTC) through Express Entry face no restrictions on employment location.
Non-Express Entry ApplicantsFor those who applied for a program outside Express Entry, the Acknowledgment of Receipt letter is issued by IRCC only after the verification of the application’s completeness.

Bridging Open Work Permits for Applicants in Quebec

  • To qualify for a Bridging Open Work Permit under Quebec’s immigration programs, applicants are required to:
    • Have submitted a permanent residence application as the principal applicant, specifically as a skilled worker in Quebec, to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
    • Possess an acknowledgment of receipt that verifies the federal government’s reception of the permanent residence application and confirms its completeness.
  • Importantly, the spouse or common-law partner of the applicant is also eligible to obtain a Bridging Open Work Permit, irrespective of the principal applicant’s skill level within their profession.

BOWP Employment Location

Employment Location Rules
PNPWhen issuing a BOWP to an applicant for permanent residence under a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), the employment location on the work permit must be restricted to the nominating province. Therefore, the province of destination must be selected, and then the city of destination value should be selected to show the province/territory.
QuebecWhen issuing a BOWP to applicants for permanent residence who have been selected by Quebec as skilled workers, the province of Quebec must be selected as the place of employment on the work permit.

Bridging open work permit document checklist

The documents required for a Canadian work permit depend on the specific type of work permit being applied for.

  • Applicants may need to provide the following documents as part of their work permit application:
    • Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR) letter
    • Provincial nomination certificate (if applicable)
    • Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) (Quebec Acceptance Certificate) (if applicable)
    • Signed employment contract (if applying as a live-in caregiver)
    • Completed application forms
    • Proof of status in Canada
    • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
    • A valid copy of the passport
    • Medical exam results (if requested)
    • Proof of payment for applicable government fee

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why was my bridging open work permit rejected?

A common reason for BOWP rejection is the submission of an incomplete permanent residence application. As completeness is a requirement for permanent residence applications, an incomplete submission may lead to a BOWP refusal.

How long does it take to process a bridging open work permit?

Typically, bridging open work permits are processed within a timeframe of 3-4 months.

Can I leave Canada while on a bridging open work permit?

A bridging open work permit allows foreign nationals to work in Canada but cannot serve as a standalone travel document. To return to Canada on a BOWP, foreign nationals must also possess a valid eTA or temporary resident visa.

Can I apply for permanent residence (PR) while on a bridging open work permit?

The main eligibility requirement for a BOWP is that the applicant has already applied for permanent residence (PR). Therefore, there is no need to submit a separate PR application while on a BOWP.

Is it possible to apply for a bridging open work permit from outside Canada?

No, foreign nationals must be residing in Canada to apply for a BOWP.


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