May 27, 2015

Changes to the Bridging Open Work Permit Category

Posted by Legal Team - Bellissimo Law Group PC

With the implementation of the new Express Entry (“EE”) System and the Caregiver classes, a few notable changes to the bridging open work permit category have been introduced. To be eligible to apply for a bridging open work permit, foreign nationals must now:


1) Submit their application for permanent residence under one of the following programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker class (FSW);
  • Canadian Experience class (CEC);
  • Federal Skilled Trades class (FSTC);
  • Caring for children class or caring for people with high medical needs; or
  • Provincial nominee programs (PNP) – with the exclusion of nominees identified by the nominating province or territory as having employment restrictions imposed as conditions of the nomination).


2) Receive from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”), a “positive eligibility assessment” or what is typically called an Acknowledgement of Receipt (“AOR”) letter. The AOR letter is issued once CIC ensures an application for permanent residence has been reviewed, determined to be complete, and meets the completeness check requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

The required AOR notice/letter for the bridging open work permit is generally not issued until months after a permanent residence application is submitted.  In particular, under the EE system, once an application is transmitted online, CIC does provide “notice” confirming the submission of your online application right away.  This “notice” however is not the required AOR for the bridging open work permit.  The AOR letter is not typically issued for another couple of months.  It is therefore important to factor in this waiting time and review other options if your current work permit is set to expire soon after submission.

Upon receipt of a bridging open work permit, an officer will not approve a bridging open work permit application unless the following conditions have first been confirmed:

  • the permanent residence application under one of the classes mentioned above has been found eligible;
  • the applicant is currently in Canada;
  • the applicant currently holds a valid work permit that will expire within the next four months and there are no other issues of concern;
  • the work permit application is for an open work permit; and
  • the open work permit holder fee and work permit processing fee have both been paid.

Applicants who do not qualify for a bridging work permit are as follows:

  • Applicants who can work in Canada without a work permit.
  • Applicants whose temporary resident status expired and they need to apply for a restoration.
  • Applicants whose work permits are valid for longer than four months or who already have a new LMIA that can be used as the basis for a new work permit application.
  • Applicants who make their application for a bridging work permit at a Port of Entry (airport or border).
  • The spouse and dependant of the principal permanent resident applicant are not eligible to apply for bridging work permits; however some spouses can apply for work permits under the accompanying open work permit category.  Dependent children of a permanent residence applicant in any of the economic classes listed above who wish to apply for an open work permit must obtain an LMIA or have an LMIA exemption based on their specific situation.
  • Provincial nominees who have not submitted a copy of their nomination letter with their application, or whose nomination letter specifically indicates they have employment restrictions (ie. their nomination is tied to a specific employer).

If you would like more information on Bridging work permits, please contact our office.