June 30, 2015

Changes to Work Permit Policies Affect Some Ontario Provincial Nominees

Posted by admin - Bellissimo Law Group PC

Opportunities Ontario: Provincial Nominee Program (OOPNP) has announced that as of 20 June 2015, it no longer has the authority to issue support letters for open work permits, as a result of new federal policies on temporary work permits. This change only affects applicants who have received nominations under OOPNP streams that do not require a job offer. This includes the PhD and Masters Graduates streams for international students, the new Ontario Express Entry: Human Capital Priorities Stream, and the Ontario Express Entry: French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream.

The Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade previously issued letters of support that allowed nominees to apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for an open work permit in Ontario for the period of 18 months. Open work permits assist nominees in maintaining their temporary authorization in Canada while awaiting the finalization of their permanent resident application. Letters of support for open work permits were generally issued to Masters and PhD graduates nominated under the International Students – PhD Graduates or International Students – Masters Graduates streams. This will no longer be the case.

Since a provincial nomination does not confer legal status in Canada, nominees on a work permit, study permit or temporary resident visa need to ensure that they remain in proper status in Canada until they receive their permanent resident status. With this change, nominees who wish to retain their legal status after receiving their nomination must meet federal requirements.

One option for these nominees is to obtain a bridging open work permit. These work permits serve to bridge the gap between the expiry of a nominee’s current work permit and the final decision on the nominee’s permanent residence application. An open work permit allows a foreign national to work for any employer in Canada.  To apply for a bridging open work permit, you must have submitted an application for permanent residence in one of the economic classes (including OOPNP) and received a positive eligibility assessment.

For more information on Work Permits, please click here.

For more information on the Opportunities Ontario Provincial Nominee Program, please contact us.