Open Work Permits (Who are eligible?)

Open Work Permits (Who are eligible?)

An open work permit in Canada is a type of work authorization that allows foreign nationals to work for any employer in the country without the need for a specific job offer. Unlike a closed or employer-specific work permit, an open work permit offers greater flexibility, enabling individuals to explore various employment opportunities and gain valuable work experience in Canada.

Open work permits are typically granted in specific circumstances, such as for spouses or common-law partners of certain temporary residents, international students who have graduated from eligible Canadian institutions, or individuals under the International Experience Canada (IEC) program, which includes youth mobility agreements with partner countries.

The open work permit not only supports the economic and social integration of foreign nationals in Canada but also contributes to the country’s diverse labor market by providing opportunities for skilled workers and facilitating the attraction and retention of talented individuals. Its availability enhances Canada’s appeal as a destination for international talent, fostering a more inclusive and dynamic workforce while meeting the needs of both employers and aspiring workers

Who can apply for an open work permit?

These are the types of open work permits that can be applied depending on the eligibility requirements.

  1. Recently graduated from a designated learning institution as an international student and qualified for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.
  2. Currently holding an employer-specific work permit and experiencing abuse or at risk of abuse related to your employment in Canada.
  3. Dependent family member of an individual who has applied for permanent residence.
  4. Spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child of either a low- or high-skilled worker.
  5. Spouse or common-law partner of an international student.
  6. Spouse or common-law partner of an applicant participating in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program or the Atlantic Immigration Program.
  7. Refugee, refugee claimant, protected person, or family member of any of these statuses.
  8. Holder of a temporary resident permit.
  9. Young worker participating in special programs.
  10. Currently in Canada and being sponsored as a spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, or accompanying dependent child

Occupation-restricted & Unrestricted open work permit

FeatureUnrestricted Open Work PermitOccupation-Restricted Open Work Permit
Job FlexibilityCan work in any jobSpecific job is specified
Employer FlexibilityCan work for any employerCan work for any employer
Location FlexibilityCan work in any locationCan work in any location
Medical Exam RequirementRequires passing a medical examDoes not require a completed medical exam
Eligibility CriteriaGiven to eligible workers who passed the medical exam or those who failed the medical exam but have no other means of support or belong to certain groups of permanent resident applicants in CanadaGiven to eligible workers who have not completed a medical exam
Restrictions on Healthcare JobsNo restrictions on healthcare jobsUsually not allowed to work in healthcare-related jobs
Other Common RestrictionsN/ADepending on the country of origin and the requirement for a medical exam, restrictions may include no work in childcare, primary or secondary school teaching, health services, or farming

What are the Eligibility Requirements for Open Work Permits?

Depending on the type of work permit you are applying for these are the eligibility requirements you can check:

1. International Experience Canada (IEC)

  • Typically, applicants must be citizens of countries that have a bilateral youth mobility agreement with Canada.
  • Participants in the IEC program can potentially acquire an open work permit through the Working Holiday category.
  • IEC is accessible to young adults who hold citizenship in foreign countries with bilateral agreements with Canada.
  • The age eligibility varies by country but typically falls within the range of 18 to 35 years old.

2. Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

  • Graduated from a designated learning institution in Canada.
  • Completed a program of study that lasted at least eight months.
  • Applied for the PGWP within a specific timeframe after graduation.

3. Spousal/Common-law Partner Open Work Permit

  • Spouse or common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • The sponsor must be in Canada and must be in a position to support the applicant.

4. Refugee Claimants and Protected Persons

  • Individuals who have applied for refugee status or protected person status in Canada.

5. In-Canada Applicants for Permanent Residence

  • Individuals who have applied for permanent residence from within Canada and are in a specific stage of the application process.
  • Eligibility for Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) if residing in Canada, and possessing an expiring work permit.
  • Having submitted a permanent residence application through a federal or provincial economic class program
  • (Not applicable in Quebec; alternative work permits are available in Quebec).

6. Young Workers in Special Programs

  • Individuals participating in special programs that facilitate the entry of temporary workers, such as the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) or the Agricultural Stream of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

7. Spouses or Common-Law Partners Sponsored Under Inland Sponsorship

  • Open work permit possibility for spouses and common-law partners of Canadians or Permanent Residents being sponsored for permanent residence through Inland Sponsorship
  • Contingent upon meeting the eligibility criteria of the specific sponsorship immigration program.

8. Spouses or Common-Law Partners of Temporary Foreign Workers

  • Eligibility for an open work permit for spouses or common-law partners of temporary foreign workers.
  • Employment in Canada corresponding to Skill Level 0, A, or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC)
  • For a minimum period of six months, and who reside or intend to reside in Canada

Benefits of an Open Work Permit

Job Flexibility & Location Flexibility

Open work permit holders have the freedom to work for any employer in Canada, allowing them to explore various job opportunities and industries. There are usually no restrictions on the location of work, providing individuals the flexibility to live and work in different provinces or territories.

No Job Offer Required & Skill Level Flexibility

Unlike employer-specific work permits, open work permits do not require individuals to secure a job offer before coming to Canada, making it easier for them to enter the country. Open work permits may be available to individuals working in various skill levels, including those in high-skilled, low-skilled, or intermediate-skilled occupations.

Spousal Employment

Spouses or common-law partners of certain visa holders or permanent residents, such as those under the International Experience Canada (IEC) program, may be eligible for open work permits, allowing them to work in Canada

Ease of Transition to Permanent Residence

. Holding an open work permit may provide individuals with Canadian work experience, making it easier for them to transition to permanent residence through various immigration pathways.

Networking Opportunities & Family Reunification

Open work permit holders can build professional networks, gain valuable Canadian work experience, and enhance their skills, contributing to long-term career growth. Spouses and dependent family members of certain visa holders or permanent residents may also be eligible for open work permits, promoting family reunification.

Protection Against Employer Abuse

For individuals with open work permits not tied to a specific employer, there is a degree of protection against potential employer abuse, as they have the flexibility to change jobs if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs )

Q: How do I Apply for an Open Work Permit?

Application can be made from within or outside Canada. The process and required forms vary based on the application location. Submission of a specified form, along with payment of the open work permit holder fee and work permit processing fee, is essential.

Q: What are the Open Work Permit Fees?

The Open Work Permit is slightly more expensive than an employer-specific permit. The fees include an initial work permit application fee of CAD$155 and an Open Work Permit fee of CAD$100, totaling CAD$255.

Q: Can I bring my dependents to Canada with an Open Work Permit?

Yes, you can bring your spouse or common-law partner and minor children when working in Canada with an open permit. Include their documents in your application for a family evaluation. After arriving, your spouse or partner can also apply for an Open Work Permit Canada spouse if they meet eligibility criteria.

Q: Is Canada issuing open work permits in 2024?

Yes, IRCC has opened the 2024 Canada Express Entry IEC pool. Citizens of nations with bilateral Youth Mobility Agreements can qualify for an IEC work permit.

Q: Can I get an open work permit from India?

Open work permits, allowing work for any employer in Canada, are available to spouses or common-law partners of international students or temporary foreign skilled workers. To obtain one from India, meet the specific eligibility criteria.


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