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Work Permits

Work permits are generally required for foreign workers who wish to enter Canada to work on a temporary basis and ease skill shortages in Canada (see NAFTA and GATS work permit exceptions).

If you are currently residing in a country outside of Canada and wish to apply for a work permit, there are several mandatory documents that you must have ready for submission.  In most cases, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship  Canada (“IRCC”) will require that your work permit application include what is called a Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”).  The LMIA is a document that your prospective employer will receive from the government once they are satisfied that no Canadian or permanent resident was available to take the position (see LMIA above).

If you are currently residing in Canada or applying from abroad and wish to apply for a work permit, you will have to satisfy all of the conditions for an individual applying for a work permit outside of Canada.  Generally, these requirements verify whether  you hold the necessary qualifications and experience for the work you intend to complete in Canada, you wish to come to Canada on a temporary basis, and that your employment offer is valid and genuine.  In some cases, IRCC  may also require you to  complete and pass medical and/or criminal checks before they approve a work permit.

If you are currently working in Canada on a work permit which will soon expire and you have submitted an application for permanent residence through the Express Entry system, you may be eligible for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP). As the name suggests, a BOWP is issued to bridge the gap between the expiry of the work permit and the final decision on the permanent residence application.

After an electronic application for permanent residence (e-APR) is submitted through the Express Entry system, an Acknowledgement of Receipt letter is generated in the applicant’s MyCIC account. This letter provides a file number and confirms that the application has been received. Applicants who are eligible for a BOWP may apply immediately after receipt of this letter.

In order to be eligible for a BOWP, the e-APR must first pass a completeness check. This means that an Immigration Officer has done an initial assessment of the application and has verified that all necessary information and documentation has been received. If the completeness check is successful, the application for a BOWP will then be processed. If the e-APR is found to be incomplete, the application for permanent residence will be rejected and the application for a BOWP will be refused. Therefore, if you are relying on a BOWP to continue working in Canada, it is very important that your permanent residence application is completed accurately. If your application is rejected and your work permit has expired, you will be unable to submit another BOWP application with the new e-APR.

In addition to passing the completeness check, to be eligible for a BOWP an applicant must:

  • Be currently in Canada;
  • Have valid status on a work permit that is due to expire within the next four months;
  • Be the main applicant on the permanent residence application submitted;
  • Have submitted an application for an open work permit which includes the processing fee.


Latest Immigration Court Decisions

For the latest immigration court decisions on work permit cases, please click here.

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