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How to apply for a Canadian open work permit

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Open work permits allow foreign workers the flexibility to choose where they work in Canada.

Oftentimes, foreign nationals who want to work in Canada need a work permit. These permits may be tied to a specific employer, or occupation. By contrast, open work permits allow for freedom of movement, whether it is between workplaces, occupations or locations in Canada.

Canadian employers do not need to do a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in order to hire a foreign worker on an open work permit.

There are numerous ways to be eligible for an open work permit. Here are some of the more prominent ways:

International student graduates:

After graduation, international students can be eligible to work in Canada for up to three years if they completed a full-time study program of at least two years in duration.

Citizens of foreign countries with reciprocal agreements:

International Experience Canada (IEC) is designed to allow foreign youth from over 30 different countries to work in Canada.

Youth between the ages of 18 and 35 may be eligible for a Working Holiday visa.

Spouses and common-law partners of Canadians and temporary residents:

Canada offers open work permit options to the spouse of Canadians, temporary foreign workers, and international students.

Permanent residency applicants:

Bridging Open Work Permits (BOWPs) allow people who have applied for permanent residence to remain in Canada while waiting for a decision on their application.

The following immigration programs are eligible for a BOWP:

● Federal Skilled Worker Program
● Canadian Experience Class
● Federal Skilled Trades Program
● Provincial Nominee Program
● Quebec Skilled Workers
● Agri-Food Pilot Program

The BOWP makes it so foreign nationals do not have to leave their jobs or the country if their temporary status expires before their permanent residence application is processed.

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