Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

What is a bridging open work permit?

Several federal and provincial immigration classes exist for eligible foreign workers who are already living and working in Canada on work permits. In some cases, an applicant’s work permit will expire while the permanent residence application is being processed or will soon be submitted. A bridging open work permit (BOWP) allows the applicant to remain in Canada until a decision has been made on his or her application.

Individuals who hold a BOWP may work for any employer in Canada, providing them with the flexibility to integrate into the Canadian labour market without having to temporarily leave the country or find an employer willing to go through the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process.

Note that in order to qualify for a BOWP, the applicant must already be deemed eligible for immigration to Canada under one of the following classes:

  • Federal skilled worker
  • Federal skilled trades
  • Canadian experience class
  • One of the provincial nominee programs

For applications processed through the express entry pool, the individual receives an acknowledge of receipt when he or she submits an electronic application for permanent residence (e-APR). The application for a BOWP can be submitted once this acknowledgement is received, and it will be processed once Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has conducted its completeness check. If the e-APR is deemed incomplete, the applicant will not be granted the BOWP.


What are the eligibility criteria for a BOWP?

You may apply for a BOWP if you meet the following conditions:

  • You are already in Canada
  • You have a valid work permit that is set to expire sometime in the next four months
  • You are applying for immigration under one of the experienced worker classes
  • You have received a positive eligibility assessment


You are not eligible for a BOWP under the following circumstances:

  • Your work permit has expired, or will be valid for more than four months
  • You have a new LMIA that can be used for a new work permit application
  • You are not principal applicant for permanent residence
  • You are not presently in Canada
  • You are a provincial nominee and you have failed to submit your nomination letter with your application


What about my family?

Your spouse or common-law/conjugal partner may be eligible for an open work permit if the following conditions apply:

  • Your BOWP is valid for more than six months
  • If you are applying under the federal skilled worker program, you are working in a job in skill level 0, A or B on the National Occupation Classification (NOC)
  • If you are applying under a provincial nominee program, your spouse is eligible for an open work permit that has the same duration as your work permit
  • If you are applying under the federal skilled trades program, you are working in a qualifying job at skill level B in the NOC
  • If you are applying under the Canadian experience class, there are no preconditions that have to be met

Note that you dependent children must have either an LMIA or an LMIA exemption in order to apply for a work permit.

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