The Bridging Open Work Permits (BOWP, sometimes referred to as a ‘bridging visa’) is a much welcome innovation from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
In many cases, permanent residence applicants applying from within Canada are on a valid Canadian work permit. The Bridging Open Work Permit was created as a way to keep workers in Canada working while their applications for permanent residency are processed.
IRCC realized that applicants to certain permanent residence programs who had valid work status in Canada — but whose work status may run out before a decision was made on their application for permanent residence — would benefit from a work permit to ‘bridge’ the gap between the expiry of their current work permit and the decision on the application for permanent residence.
Bridging Open Work Permit eligibility
In order to be eligible for a BOWP, applicants must have applied as the principal applicant under one of the following programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Class
- Canadian Experience Class
- Federal Skilled Trades Class
- Provincial Nominee Program
- Caring for Children Class
- Caring for People with High Medical Needs Class
- Agri-Food Pilot
- Quebec Skilled Worker
Applicants applying through Express Entry-aligned streams as well as QSW applicants must have passed the section R10 completeness check. Applicants applying through non-Express Entry streams must have received a positive eligibility assessment on their non-Express Entry APR.
Applicants must also:
- currently be in Canada,
- meet one of the following criteria:
- have valid temporary resident status and authorization to work as the holder of a valid work permit
- have maintained status and authorization to workvas a result of submitting an application to renew their work permit
- be eligible to restore their temporary resident status with authorization to work on a work permit
- select “Open Work Permit” as the type of work permit being applied for, and
- pay the work permit processing fee and the Open Work Permit Holder fee.
If the permanent resident application is not complete, IRCC will refuse the Bridging Open Work Permit application and will not refund the processing fees. Previously, BOWP had to wait until their current work permit was within four months of expiration before applying — this time constraint was removed in 2021.