An open work permit enables a foreign national to work for a given period of time with any Canadian employer he or she likes. Some open work permits can limit the type of job or place where a foreign national can work. A worker can apply from outside Canada, within Canada, or at a Canadian port of entry for an open work permit.

Only those persons who are also excluded from the LMIA provision are given Canadian Open work permits.

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Types of permits for open work
  • Two forms of open work permits exist.
  • Non-restricted (allowing foreign nationals to work in any occupation and location)
  • Restricted Limited (restricting the occupation or the location)
Openwork permits may be given with the following information
  • Occupational limitations, depending on the medical status of the applicant[R185(b)]
  • Depending on the type, location restrictions (such as a bridging open work permit under the provincial nominee class)

The following persons are entitled to have an open work permit issued

  • Candidates who have no other means of funding. (Foreign Nationals with No Other Means of Support)
  • Certain kinds of applicants living in Canada who are permanent residents. (Permanent Residence Applicants in Canada)
  • Foreign nationals who work for humanitarian reasons in Canada. (Humanitarian-Based Open Work Permits)
  • Participants from the Canada World Youth Initiative
  • Participants in certain international student and young worker exchange programs
  • Family members of military personnel and representatives of foreign countries who are exempt from the LMIA requirement
  • Professional athletes who need other jobs to support themselves when playing for a Canadian team
  • Spouses of Resident Professional Staff
  • Spouses of international learners

Foreign nationals currently living in Canada whose work permit will expire shortly and who have submitted a permanent residency application under:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  • The Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • A Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
  • The Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

Note: These workers are eligible for an open work permit only if they comply with the programme criteria for which they are applying.

International nationals who have applied for permanent residency under a spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (SCLPC). Under this class, applicants would be eligible to receive an open work permit if

  • In the SCLPC class, they submitted a permanent residence application.
  • The spouse or partner of the claimant is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • The spouse/partner of the applicant has submitted a funding application on behalf of the applicant.
  • The applicant for the SCLPC is resident at the same address as the sponsor/spouse/partner
  • As a tourist, student, or worker, the SCLPC applicant has legitimate temporary residence status

There are two kinds of open work permits: open work permits without limits and open work permits limited by occupation.

A foreign national can work in any job, any location, and for any employer under an unrestricted open work permit. Eligible workers who have completed the medical test will be granted an unrestricted open work permit (Medical Exams for Temporary Foreign Worker Applicants). Eligible workers who are listed may also be issued unlimited open work permits

  • Failed to pass the medical test AND
  • They either have n[]\o other means of support (applicants with no other means of support) or belong to those classes of applicants residing in Canada who are permanent residents.

A qualified person can work for any employer under an occupation-restricted open permit, however, the job in which the worker must work will be specified. The job limitation is due to the fact that qualifying employees who have not undergone a medical test are granted occupation-restricted open permits. Therefore, holders of limited open permits for employment are typically not permitted to work in health-related occupations.

If a qualified worker obtains a restricted open permit for employment and is from a country that does not require a medical test when entering Canada, he/she will not be permitted to work in

  • Childcare
  • Primary or secondary school teaching
  • Health services

If a qualified worker obtains a restricted open permit for occupation and is from a country requiring a medical test, he/she will not be permitted to work in

  • Childcare
  • Primary or secondary school teaching
  • Health services
  • Farming