December 20, 2023
Can I Change a Closed Work Permit into an Open Work Permit?
There are many different kinds of work permit in Canada. Some of these are occupation- or employer-restricted, also known as closed work permits. Others allow you to work for any employer or any occupation, and these are known as open work permits. If you are in Canada on a closed work permit, there are a few ways that you can change to an open work permit.
The first of these is if you apply for Permanent Residence in Canada, under a program such as Express Entry, Caregiver pilot programs, Provincial Nominee Program, and others. If you are in Canada and have a valid work permit (or an expired one, but are eligible to restore your status) and your permanent residence application has passed a certain stage to be approved in principle, you can apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit. This is an open work permit which will allow you to work in Canada while you wait for your permanent residence application to be processed.
Another way that you can change from a closed work permit to an open work permit is if you are the spouse or common-law partner of a Canadian citizen or permanent residence, and you are being sponsored for permanent residence. This is called a Spousal Open Work Permit. You must be in Canada and living with the spouse who is sponsoring you to be able to apply for this kind of work permit, amongst other important eligibility criteria.
You can also apply for an open work permit if you are a migrant worker in Canada and you are being abused by your employer. This is called an Open Work Permit for Vulnerable Workers. If you are working in Canada on certain types of closed work permit (including seasonal agricultural workers) and you are being abused, or at risk of abuse from your employer, you can apply for an open work permit so that you do not have to remain with your abusive employer.
There are many other ways to apply for an open work permit if you are currently on a closed work permit. If you fall into one of the categories above, or have questions about other ways that you can change a closed work permit into an open work permit, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our office.