An open work permit gives official permission to foreign nationals to work for any business or employer in a foreign country. If you are a foreign national that wants to procure a Canada open work permit, there are means to apply for it outside Canada, at the Port Of Entry (POE), and also if you’re already in Canada. Besides, open work permits are not offered to businesses or employers that specializes in escort services, erotic massages, stripteases, and erotic dances.

Open Work Permit Requirements within Canada

Foreign nationals are eligible to apply for Canada open work permit as long as they meet certain conditions. Here are some things you should take note to be qualified for open work permit application inside Canada.

  • If you have a valid study/work permit
  • If you have made a claim for refugee protection
  • If Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada acknowledges you as a protected person or as a convention refugee
  • Based on Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), you are eligible to apply for open work permit in Canada if you are a professional, trader, investor, or intra-company transferee
  • If you have a valid Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) with not less than 6 months to its expiration
  • If your parents, spouse, or common-law partner have a valid study/work permit
  • If you have applied for Canada’s permanent residency, and you are waiting for its decision
  • If you are permitted to work in Canada without a work permit but you prefer to apply for another job that is completely different from your current job
  • If your study permit has not expired, and you also meet the requirements for Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

Applying for open permit at the port of entry

If you didn’t apply for work permit in your home country, you still have the opportunity to apply for it just as you arrive at Canada. Not all foreign nationals can take this opportunity. Only foreign nationals from USA are eligible to apply for their Canada open work permit at the port of entry. Also, you need to be qualified for an electronic travel authorization or to enter Canada with exemption of a visitor visa.

Types of Canadian open work permits

The types of open work permits include restricted and unrestricted open work permits:

Restricted open work permits

This work permit creates boundaries to the type of job that you are permitted to apply for. It also restricts the areas where foreign nationals can send their job applications to.

Unrestricted open work permits

This Canada open work permit does not restrict the areas and jobs that foreign nationals are permitted to apply for. It avails more freedom to the foreign national to be able to work wherever and under any employer they prefer to work with in Canada.

Processing fee for open work permits

You are mandated to pay the;

  • Open work permit fee of $155
  • Open work permit holder’s fee of $100

Processing time

Canada’s processing time for open work permit is mostly between 4 to 5 months. Although, COVID-19 outbreak has made some severe impacts that affected the CIC open work permit processing time and has resulted to abnormal processing of applications.

Spousal Open Work Permit

You can apply for Canada Spouse Open Work Permit (SOWP) if you’re a spouse or family member of someone working or studying temporarily in Canada.

Before you commence any process of Spousal Open Work Permit application, it is necessary to consider if you are eligible for the application. It’s eligibility factors entails if you are;

  1. the spouse of a skilled worker in a job under NOC skill type 0, A or B and have been authorized to work in Canada for at least 6 months
  2. the spouse of a foreign student who is studying in a public tertiary institution or is undergoing study in Quebec’s Collège d’Enseignement Gènèral Et Professionnel (CEGEP)
  3. the spouse of an individual who is applying for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program in an occupation under National Occupational Classification 0, A, B or C

Extending your SOWP in Canada

It is best to apply for an open work permit extension when your existing work permit still has at least 30 days to its expiry date. You also need to ensure that your passport won’t expire anytime soon. Your passport expiry’s date needs to be on a later date of when your new work permit will expire

Open permit spousal sponsorship

The fee attached to sponsoring a spouse or common-law partner varies from $1,050. It’s processing time usually take about 12 months. After completing the application, the spouse who is being sponsored are sometimes required to undergo some biometric measures. Before you can sponsor your spouse, you have to;

  1. be at least 18 years old
  2. be a permanent resident or a Canada citizen. It is also permissible if you are registered under the Canada’s Indian Act as a India citizen. Being a permanent resident, you must be residing in Canada to be eligible for open work permit spousal sponsorship. Besides, Canada citizens who are not residing in Canada are mandated to tender proof of their intention to return and live in Canada as soon as their spouse becomes permanent residents
  3. be financially capable of providing your spouse’s essentials
  4. have evidence to ascertain that you are not receiving any kind of social assistance. This is not applicable to disabled persons

Bridge Open Work Permit (BOWP)

As a foreign national who is working with any of Canadian employers, Bridge Open Work Permit authorizes you to work in Canada pending when your application for permanent residence is being decided. Canada bridging open work permit is specifically for foreign nationals that already have a job in Canada.

Bridging open work permit processing time varies on how you initiated your application. If you applied for your BOWP online, its processing will take about 60 days, which is equivalent to 2 months. If you applied for BOWP through physical submission (paper) of supporting documents, your BOWP processing time will estimate to 100 days.

Bridging open work permit expires after 1 year. By this time, you would have gotten a decision based on your application for permanent residence. Hence, if you have applied for your permanent residence (Economic Class), bridging open work permit via express entry allows you to continue working for a period of 4 months.

Open work permit for spouse of PGWP holder

As a spouse to a person that possesses Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), you can leverage their influence in your application for open work permit. Hence, your work permit will be processed to expire at about the same time with your spouse’s work permit.

Spouse open work permit document checklist

Spouse open work permit processing time is more likely to be decided in a period of 4 to 5 months. In order to avoid your spouse open work permit from being rejected, ensure that your proof of relationship and other supported documents are valid and complete. If your husband/wife is a holder of PGWP, your work permit application requires a copy of;

  1. your spouse’s open work permit
  2. their recent pay slips
  3. your spouse’s job offer letter or contract. Besides, a letter from your spouse’s employer also serves this purpose as it helps CIC to confirm that he/she is a worker under National Occupational Classification 0, A or B

Letter of Explanation

A letter of explanation (LOE) is otherwise known as explanation letter. It is usually being prepared by foreign nationals in order to extend their study permit, as well as to support their post-graduation work permit. LOE is being addressed to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

If you are drafting he letter of explanation spouse open work permit, you will have to include a personal statement about yourself and your spouse in the letter. Therefore, you will begin the letter of explanation by providing information about providing information about yourself, including your name, age, educational background, qualifications, and work experience. It should also include your intentions when you arrive to Canada. Your spouse’s current status also needs to be included in the letter, their arrival date to Canada, legal proof of marital status, and other supporting information.

If you are a live-in caregiver in Canada, you are obligated to posses a minimum of 2 years work permit under the live-in caregiver class. It is also necessary for you to have worked for not less than 3,900 hours or for 2 years in period of 4 years.

Questions about Spouse Open Work Permit (SOWP)

How long does it take to get open work permit in Canada?
About 4 to 5 months, depending on your country of citizenship.
How to pay for open work permit in Canada?
You can pay for your Canada open work permit application using your visa card, MasterCard, American Express (AMEX), bank draft, money order, or cheque.
How to check open work permit status?
  • If you made an online application for your work permit, You can cheek your application status by;
  • Signing in to your online account
  • Navigate to View my Submitted application or profiles
  • Then, click on check status and messages.
  • For paper applications of open work permit, Foreign nationals that applied for their work permit online are required to connect their application to an online account in order to access and receive updates on the status of your application.
How many hours we can work on open work permit?
Officially, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) allows foreign nationals in Canada to work for 20 hours on a weekly basis.
How much is open work permit in Canada?
$155 for Open work permit fee, and $100 for open work permit holder’s fee.
What documents are required to apply for open work permit?
  • Valid passport
  • Proof of identity
  • Proof of relationship