A very welcome innovation from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is the Bridging Flexible Work Permits (BOWP, also referred to as a ‘bridging visa’).

In certain situations, applicants for permanent residency from within Canada are subject to a valid Canadian work permit. The Bridging Open Work Permit was designed as a way to keep workers working in Canada while processing their permanent residency applications.

IRCC realized that applicants who had valid work status in Canada for some permanent residence programmes, but whose work status could run out before a decision was made on their permanent residence application, would benefit from a work permit to ‘bridge’ the difference between the expiry of their current work permit and the decision on the permanent residence application.

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Bridging Open Work Permit eligibility

Applicants must have submitted applications under one of the following programmes to be eligible for a BOWP:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Class
  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Federal Skilled Trades Class
  • Provincial Nominee Program
  • Caring for Children Class
  • Caring for People with High Medical Needs Class

Bridging Open Work Permit eligibility

  • Currently in Canada.
  • Have valid status on a work permit set to expire within four months.
  • Pick "Open Work Permit" as the form of work permit being sought.
  • Pay the processing fee for the work permit and the fee for the holder of the Open Work Permit.

If the application for a permanent resident is not complete, the IRCC will deny the application for a Bridging Open Work Permit and will not refund the processing fees.

Quebec immigration applicants are not entitled to obtain a Bridging Open Work Permit.