Canada is a country of opportunity, but it can be challenging to stay if you don’t have permission. The BOWP program allows foreign workers who are already working in Canada the chance to extend their work permits while they are awaiting decisions on permanent residency applications. So that there’s no gap between jobs or sudden separation from family!
The BOWP is a valuable option for people who have already submitted their application for permanent residency and have a valid permit to work. The successful applicant will receive an open door, allowing them to take on multiple employers at once from anywhere.
What is the Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)?
The BOWP is a unique work permit designed for certain foreign workers who are already in Canada and have applied for permanent residence through specific streams. If their current work permit is about to expire, the BOWP ensures that they can continue working until a decision is made regarding their permanent residence application.
Who qualifies for BOWP?
To apply for BOWP, the requirements include:
- You must have applied for permanent residence.
- The current work permit should expire in four months or in less time.
- You have a valid status on your current work permit.
- You are currently residing in Canada.
The BOWP is a great opportunity for professionals who want to live and work in Canada. It’s only available to applicants from certain permanent residence programs, though. Here are some that can take advantage of this program:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW).
- Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
- Caring for People with High Medical Needs Class.
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST).
- Caring for Children Class.
When applying for the BOWP, you must meet eligibility criteria and be a foreign national. In Quebec, only certain applicants may apply with a CSQ certificate from their province of Quebec, which does not allow permanent residency but enables work options instead.
Important facts about BOWP
- Continuous Employment: Without the BOWP, many foreign workers might face gaps in employment due to the expiration of their initial work permit and the waiting period for their permanent residency results. This could disrupt their lives, financial stability, and integration into Canadian society.
- Beneficial to Employers: Canadian employers also benefit since they can retain experienced and trained employees without interruptions.
- Attracting Global Talent: With such policies in place, Canada becomes a more attractive destination for skilled professionals, knowing they won’t face employment gaps.
Find out if you are eligible to get in Canada →
Benefits of BOWP
- Flexibility: BOWP holders can work for any employer in Canada, providing them with flexibility and greater employment opportunities.
- Duration: BOWP is usually valid for the duration it takes to process your permanent residence application. This provides a safety net for applicants, ensuring they won’t be left in limbo.
- Path to Permanent Residency: Having a BOWP shows the Canadian authorities that the individual is serious about their intention to stay and contribute to Canadian society, which can be favourable during permanent residency evaluation.
bridging open work permit validity
Typically One Year: The BOWP is usually valid for one year. However, the actual duration might vary based on individual circumstances.
Dependent on PR Processing Time: The BOWP’s validity is designed to cover the estimated processing time of the permanent residency application. Therefore, if the applicant’s permanent residency application is processed and a decision is reached before the BOWP’s expiry date, the work permit’s utility effectively ends.
Extension Not Typically Possible: BOWPs are generally not renewable. Their sole purpose is to allow applicants to continue working while they wait for their permanent residency application decision. If the permanent residency application takes longer than expected, it’s essential for applicants to consult with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or seek legal advice to understand their options.
BOWP Document Checklist
To be considered for BOWP, you will need the following:
- Application Form: Complete the Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM 5710). Be sure to select “An open work permit” under the “Details of intended work in Canada” section.
- Proof of Payment: Include the payment receipt for the work permit processing fee and the Open Work Permit Holder fee.
- Copy of Current Work Permit: A clear copy of your current, valid work permit.
- Proof of Permanent Residence Application: Include a copy of the Acknowledgment of Receipt letter sent by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to confirm that your permanent residency application has been received.
- Passport: Provide clear photocopies of your passport pages that show your passport number, the issuance and expiration dates, your photo, name, date, and place of birth.
- Digital Photo: A digital photo of yourself as per IRCC specifications if applying online.
- Marriage Certificate: If applicable and if your marital status has changed since your last permit.
- Common-law Union Documentation: If applicable and if your relationship status has changed since your last permit.
- Additional Documentation: IRCC may request additional documents or information after you submit your application.
Implied Status in Canada for Bridging Open Work Permit Program
The implied status allows a foreign national to maintain their current immigration status in Canada, even if their permit or visa has expired, provided they’ve applied for an extension or a new permit before the expiry of their current one. In essence, they can continue the activities allowed by their current permit (like working or studying) under the same conditions until a decision is made on their application.
The BOWP application process is necessary for foreign nationals wishing to work or study in Canada. If this request does not succeed, they will no longer legally reside here and must leave immediately. They may also jeopardize future applications if caught working without permission from Immigration Services.
The Bridging Open Work Permit is a testament to Canada’s commitment to supporting foreign workers and ensuring a smooth transition to permanent residency. By offering a path for continuous employment, BOWP not only benefits the workers but also contributes to Canada’s economic growth by retaining global talent. As immigration policies continue to evolve, tools like the BOWP exemplify how nations can balance national interests with the needs of a global workforce.