What is an open work permit?

Open work permit allows a foreign national to work legally in Canada. Open work permits allow for freedom of movement and the foreign national can work at any place, in any job and for any employer in Canada. You do not need to have a job offer or a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to be eligible for an open work permit.

Who can apply for an open work permit?

You can apply for an open work permit if you belong to 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 under one of Canada‚Äôs 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.

Eligibility requirements for an open work permit

Eligibility requirements differ depending upon the situation of an individual. However, here are some most common reasons that can make you eligible for an open work permit.

1. You and your spouse or common-law partner might be eligible for a bridging open work permit if you:

  • Reside in Canada
  • Have an expiring work permit
  • Have applied for permanent residence through a federal or provincial economic class program

2. You might be eligible for an open work permit if you are the spouse or common-law partner of a temporary worker who:

  • Has employment in Canada for at least six months in a job corresponding to Skill Level 0, A or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC)
  • Resides or intends to reside in Canada

3. You may be eligible for an open work permit as a spouse or common-law partner of an international student if your partner is 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)

4. You can also get an open work permit under the working holiday category if you are a participant in the International Experience Canada (IEC) program. IEC is open to young adults who are citizens of foreign countries which have reciprocal agreements with Canada.

You can apply for an open work permit from inside Canada as well as outside Canada. The application process and forms that you need to submit will vary depending on where you are applying from.