Open Work Permit Canada

Open Work Permit CanadaAkiki is a Ugandan citizen.  Akiki’s wife received a study permit to Canada four months ago and moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick. He misses his wife a lot and wants to join her in Canada. However, Akiki wonders if he could work in Canada while he is with his wife. He has heard an open work permit allows him to work for any employer, but he is not sure if he qualifies for an open work permit in Canada. 

While some foreign nationals may work without a permit in Canada, most of them need a work permit. Working without a permit could result in a removal order from Canada. A typical work permit is limited to a specific employer, but an open work permit allows you to work for any employer.

What is an Open Work Permit in Canada?

Simply put, an open work permit allows a foreign national to work for any employer in Canada. However, an officer may impose some restrictions on an open work permit. For example, they may limit you to a specific geographical area. They might say you could only work in a particular city or a particular province. As another example, if you are suffering from certain medical conditions, the officer may prevent you from taking some jobs.

Regardless of the type of work permit, foreign nationals may not work in most adult industry jobs. Some examples include erotic massages, erotic or exotic dances, and escort services.

Open Work Permit and LMIA

All open-work-permit options are under the International Mobility Program (IMP). This program exempts applicants from an LMIA. Visit the following links for more information about IMP and LMIA.

Who May Apply for an Open Work Permit?

The following people could apply for an open work permit in Canada.

  • Applicants for permanent residency inside Canada: Some examples include Caregivers and, in Canada, class spousal or common-law sponsorship applicants.
  • People who are eligible for bridging work permits, such as individual Express Entry applicants
  • Destitute students, or preferably international students who have encountered unforeseen financial severe issues and need to work for a temporary duration
  • A person who holds a TRP, and the duration of the TRP is at least six months.
  • Refugee claimants, if they are under an unenforceable removal order.
  • Spouses or common-law partners of international students or foreign workers
  • Students who are eligible for a Post Graduate Work Permit
  • Secondary and post-secondary co-op applicants
  • Some workers that are eligible to apply because of reciprocal agreements with other countries, such as
    • Working Holiday participants (International Experience Canada)
    • Participants in Canada World Youth Program
    • Some international athletes
    • Family members of some workers
  • People who have applied for permanent residency under the Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) in Canada and the Minister has approved them under stage 1 of the process.
  • Protected people, or rather those that IRB has approved their refugee claim and have applied for permanent residency

Of course, the list is comprehensive. The devil is in the details. Make sure to consult with a professional before submitting your application.

Where to Apply for an Open Work Permit

If the applicant lives in Canada, they most likely may apply for the work permit from inside Canada. However, some exceptions may apply. If you are outside Canada but are from a visa-exempt country, you could apply at a port of entry. For the rest of the applicants, they have to apply before entering Canada.

The Application Process

The process of applying for an open work permit is similar to a regular work permit. Having said that, there are some exceptions.

  • You need to clearly explain to the officer why you are eligible for an open work permit. I refer to the exemption code and the sections of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations that apply to the case.
  • You need to pay an extra $100 processing fee for the open work permit. Right now, the processing fee for a regular work permit is $155 and for an open-work-permit is $255. Most people need to pay an $85 processing fee for the biometrics on top of the $255 processing fee.  Just a quick reminder, the fees are always subject to change. Consult with the IRCC website for the official processing fees.

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Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in Toronto, Canada. He also teaches the official immigration consulting courses at Ashton College in Vancouver, Canada. Al who holds a Masters degree from Yorkville University is a member of ICCRC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented hundreds of applicants from more than 30 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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