Can a person hold two work permits in Canada?

two work permits in Canada

Rafiq is a Bahraini citizen who holds an employer-based work permit in Canada. He recently married an international student. Therefore, Rafiq qualifies to apply for an open work permit as well. However, he wonders if a person could hold two work permits in Canada.

Why holding a work permit is essential?

Before discussing the concept of two work permits, let’s explain the importance of having such a document. Some foreign nationals may work in Canada without a permit. However, most must hold a work permit to work in our country. We may divide work permits into the following groups.

As you can imagine, an employer-based work permit limits you to a specific employer. If the employer has multiple locations, branches, or franchises, the permit usually allows you to work for only one. Open work permits do not limit you to a specific employer. However, they may still contain several constraints, such as the nature of the job or its location.

Why do people consider having two work permits?

Holding two work permits rarely happens, but here are some examples. Of course, this list does not cover all scenarios:

  • You have an employer-based work permit. However, you also intend to start and work for your own business.
  • An open work permit allows you to work for an employer. Nonetheless, if you receive an IMP employer-based work permit, you could receive a job offer after one year from the same employer and enhance your CRS score for Express Entry.
  • You are not happy with your current employer. Therefore, you apply for a new work permit with another employer. Interestingly, you receive the new work permit before the expiry of the old work permit.
  • As a vulnerable worker, you receive an open work permit. However, your old work permit is still valid.

Can two work permits co-exist?

Yes, you may have two or more work permits simultaneously. I have another article that explains the reasons for losing a work permit in detail. However, having multiple work permits is not one of them. Consequently, if you receive a new work permit, the old one remains active to its expiry date or if another reason arises (e.g., the employer appears on the Government’s non-compliant list). Remember that one could even have three or more work permits, albeit the chances are slim.

Let’s say your work permit #1 expires in November, and you receive work permit #2 in August. You’ll then have two work permits between August and November. Moreover, you may request an extension of work permit #1 and keep both work permits active for longer. The final say in approving a work permit is by an IRCC officer (or in case of application at a port of entry by a CBSA officer).

Relevant article:
Study permit and work permit at the same time

Let us help!

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.