Open Work Permit for Vulnerable Workers in Canada
Kirsten, a Danish citizen, was thrilled about her new job. Of course, the most exciting aspect was the location, Canada. However, in two weeks in her new role, Kirsten’s manager called her to his office. He seemed very upset when she showed up. John, the manager, told Kirsten the upper management is not happy with her work. Regardless, he claimed he could prevent a massive cut to Kirsten’s salary. John continued: “You need to loosen up around me if you know what I mean. Of course, in return, I’ll vouch for you.” Kirsten desperately looked up vulnerable workers in Canada. Consequently, she realized she could apply for an open work permit and free herself from abuse.
Many foreign workers in Canada may only work for one employer. In other words, they may not switch to another employer unless receiving authorization from IRCC. Unfortunately, the process is complicated, expensive and time-consuming. Luckily, an alternative route is available to vulnerable workers.
Who is a vulnerable worker?
A vulnerable worker is someone who
- currently lives in Canada,
- holds a valid work permit,
- the work permit limits them to a specific employer, and
- is subject to abuse by their employer.
Abuse and vulnerable workers
Employer abuse could take any of the following forms:
- Sexual, such as forcing the worker to perform sexual acts
- Psychological, such as intimidating or insulting the employee
- Physical, such as beating the worker
- Financial, such as taking employee’s salary
What is an open work permit?
An open work permit allows a foreign national to work for any employer in Canada. Of course, an immigration officer may impose certain limitations on the work permit. For example, they may limit the city in which they may work. Regardless, if you hold an open work permit, you may not work
- in the adult industry such as exotic dance, erotic massages, escort services or striptease, and
- for ineligible employers.
You may also read the following article for more information:
Vulnerable workers are eligible to apply for an open work permit (practitioners see R207.1). Consequently, they may work for another employer.
Where a vulnerable worker may get help
If you are a vulnerable worker, you may get help via any of the following channels:
- Visit an IRCC inland office in person
- Contact IRCC Client Support Centre (CSC)
- Get in touch with one of the following enforcement organizations:
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
- Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
- Ministry of Labour in Ontario
- Employment standards branches or divisions in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island or Saskatchewan
- labour standards divisions in Newfoundland and Labrador or Nova Scotia
- Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (Quebec)
- settlement service organizations in your city
How to apply for the vulnerable worker permit?
The best option is to apply online. Of course, when you are applying, make sure to present convincing documents to support your claims. However, if you do not know how to apply online, you may consider approaching one of the enforcement organizations. I mentioned their names in the previous section of this article.
How much is the processing fee for vulnerable workers
You are luckily exempt from paying a processing fee to the government of Canada.
Some relevant articles:
- Work Permit for Destitute Students in Canada
- Human Smuggling to Canada
- Extend your Stay in Canada or Change your Status
Our company is not the best option to assist vulnerable workers. However, in other situations, if you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review the assessment forms for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.
This article provides information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not give legal advice. Do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. We cannot be held responsible for the content of these articles. If you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. If you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment. All the characters in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Any resemblance in names, dates, and places (whether individuals, organizations, regions, or countries) is coincidental.