Open Work Permit

If you want to work in Canada as a foreigner citizen, you must first obtain a work permit which is a combination of a visa and a permit. Open work permit is one of the commonly requested work permits. This article will explain Open Work Permit, it’s requirements, and all you need to know in order to apply for the open work permit. 

What is an Open Work Permit Canada?

The International Mobility Program for Canada, also known as an Open Work Permit is an authorization that allows you to work in Canada. It is not associated with a certain type of job. In other words, meanwhile all other work permits are issued for the holder to work for one employer, an Open Work Permit will allow you to change job/employers as long as the permit is valid.

If you are applying as a Temporary Foreign Worker, but you want to keep your alternatives open, this permit is what you need. It’s more flexible than the other work permits. Like other Temporary Work Visas, it allows you to work in Canada for 6 months or less. You can change employers as long as they are accepted by the Canadian Government. Moreover, none of your employers can be involved with activities not accepted by the Canadian Government.

Also, unlike the other types of work permits, the Open Work Permit doesn’t require you to submit the following information:

  • A Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) document that your employer would need to have, neither
  • Any proof that your employer has extended an offer to you through the Employer Portal or paid the employer compliance fee.

What are the types of Open Work Permits?

Since the Open Work Permit comes with more freedom, there are 3 types of it. Each type of OWP has its own conditions. Here are 3 types of Open Work Permits:

  • The unrestricted Open Work Permit: This one allows you to change employers, occupation, and the location of work.
  • Type 1 of Restricted work permits: This kind of permit allows you to change employer, but you won’t be able to change your occupation.
  • Type 2 of Restricted work permits: It allows you to change employer but does not allow you to change the location of work.

The decision on selecting the type of open work permits is not yours. It’s up to the officer at the Canadian Consulate based on the documents that you submit when you apply.

What are the requirements for the Canada Open Work Permit?

It’s not that easy to fulfill every single requirement for the Canada Open Work Permit. Your current status is one of the factors that will determine whether you can apply for the permit or not. You can only apply for an Open Work Permit if you fall in one of the following groups:

  • A temporary resident permit holder.
  • An international student who has graduated from a Canadian education institution (DLI) and is eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit.
  • A student who cannot afford the cost of their studies.
  • A person who has applied for permanent residence in Canada.
  • A family member of a person who has applied for permanent residence in Canada.
  • A spouse or common-law partner of an international student or skilled worker.
  • A refugee, protected person, refugee claimant, or a family member.
  • A young worker in special programs.

Moreover, since the work permit is not a visa but a permit per se, you must meet the eligibility criteria of the Temporary Visa to qualify for the OWP. These are some requirement that you must fulfill:

  • You have to demonstrate that you will leave Canada after your work permit expires.
  • You must prove that you can finance your stay and your family’s stay in Canada and that you have enough funds to go back to your home country.
  • Through legal court documents, you must demonstrate that you have a clean criminal record.
  • You must prove that you are not a threat to the national security of Canada.
  • You need to have good health.
  • You have to compromise yourself to respect the conditions of your open work permit, even if the officer issues a restricted one.
  • You must prove that you will not work for an employer that offers striptease, erotic dance, erotic massage, or escort services.

In case you are currently living in Canada, you can also apply for an extension of the Open Work Permit or for your first Open Work Permit. To do so, you need to meet these requirements:

  • You must have a Canadian study permit or an OWP that will expire soon
  • You must have a degree from a Canadian education institution (DLI)
  • You are a temporary resident of Canada
  • You are awaiting the decision on your application for refugee status
  • You already have refugee or protected person status
  • Your application to get refugee status was denied, but you cannot leave Canada for reasons beyond your control

How to apply for an Open Work Permit?

Since the Open Work Permit application process has several steps, it’s important to understand them carefully. 

Get a job offer – Step 1

It is true, you can change jobs, employers, and locations; but to apply for Open Work Permit, you must have a job offer from a Canadian employer. Otherwise, you won’t qualify for a work permit application. You can apply through different online resources or sign up for any headhunting services which for a small fee will find you a job. A friend or family member may also help you find a good offer.

Apply for the visa and work permit – Step 2

Once you have met all the requirements and have a job offer from a Canadian employer, you can apply for the visa and the work permit.

The application must be made through the Canadian Consulate in your home country. 

If you create an account, you have the option of applying online through the Government of Canada website using your credentials or your bank account information. We recommend this method. Otherwise, you can submit a paper application. This is done by sending your documents as hard copies.

Submit the application forms, which include:

  • IMM 1295 – Application for Work Permit Made Outside of Canada;
  • Schedule 1 – Application for Temporary Resident Visa;
  • IMM 5645 – Fill it with every important information of your family;
  • IMM 5409 – Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (if applicable);
  • IMM 5476 – Use of Representative Form (if applicable);
  • IMM 5475 – Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual (if applicable);

Also, you need to submit several supporting documents within your application; some of these documents are necessary just if they apply. We have listed these special cases too, so pay attention:

    • Your passport which must be valid for more than 6 months after your planned date of entry into Canada
    • A photocopy of your passport and all its pages
    • Two photos as per the Photo Requirements
    • A valid job offers from your employer
    • Proof of current immigration status (it is applicable only if your country of residence is different from your country of citizenship)
    • Police record certificates
    • Your resume
    • Your education diplomas and certificates
    • Copy of your marriage certificate (if applicable)
    • Copy of children’s birth certificates (if applicable)
    • If you will be working in Quebec, you need a Certificate d’acceptation du Quebec (CAQ);
    • Any other documents that the Consulate of Canada requires

Complete the medical examination – Step 3

It is not just that you need to have good health. The best practice is to go through a medical examination to prove that you are in good health. You can do so at any licensed doctor who can sign the documents for you after you go through the necessary tests. This certified examination is essential since it allows you to work in several areas in Canada.

Do not limit your choices of jobs, unless you have no plans to work in areas like:

  • Childcare
  • Primary or secondary school teaching
  • Health service occupations, or 
  • Agricultural occupations

Attend the visa interview – Step 4

Sometimes, the officials of the Canadian Consulate want to determine if people have real intentions to return to their home country once the Open Work Permit expires. If asked, you must attend the interview at the scheduled time and answer any questions asked. They might also request biometric information after the interview. 

Wait for processing – Step 5

The Open Work Permit Canada processing time can range from 3 to 27 weeks, depending on the workload. It’s hardly possible to accelerate the process. You will get a notification when the Canadian Consulate is done with their process. 

Travel to Canada –Step 6

This may be the most important of all the steps because when you land in Canada, the Port of Entry (PoE) officers will stop you for checking. Stay calm during the checking process. They will check your documents and ask questions about your purpose of visit and how long you will stay in Canada.

Consider these two things. 

  • (1) Even if your Open Work Permit is approved by the Consulate you can be denied entrance into Canada. 
  • (2) The PoE officers are the ones that make the final decision

Give them all your documents and answer all the questions since they have the authority not to let you into the country if they suspect you are not being truthful. 

What are the Open Work Permit Fees?

The Open Work Permit is more than an employer-specific work permit. You will have to pay an initial work permit application fee of CAD 155 and the Open Work Permit fee of CAD 100. In total, the OWP will cost you CAD 255.

Can I bring my dependents to Canada with an Open Work Permit?

Yes, you can. Your spouse or common-law partner and minor children are allowed to enter with you. You must include their documents in your application to be evaluated as a family.

After your arrival in Canada, your spouse or common-law partner can also apply for Open Work Permit Canada, if they meet the requirements.