Bridging open work permit & PR

open work permit

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Mary Keyork

Mary Keyork provides Immigration Law services for hundreds of immigration applications in all categories and has appeared before all three divisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board as well as at the Federal Court of Canada, successfully representing clients in complex immigration applications and hearings.
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I Applied for Permanent Residence and My Work Permit is Expiring. Do I Have to Stop Working Until My Application is Approved?I Applied for Permanent Residence and My Work Permit is Expiring. Do I Have to Stop Working Until My Application is Approved?

The answer depends on the type of work permit you have and the category of permanent residence (PR) you applied for. You may be eligible for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) if you made an Application for Permanent Residence under one of the Economic categories.
If you have not applied under an Economic category, you may still be able to extend your existing work permit. Your eligibility and the documents required will depend on the type of work permit you hold.

Bridging Open Work Permits

The BOWP category lets foreign nationals with pending applications for PR under an Economic category obtain an open work permit. The BOWP will bridge the gap between your temporary and permanent residence. If you hold a work permit that is likely to expire before your PR application is processed, you may be able to get a BOWP.

In order to be eligible for a BOWP, you must:

• Be physically present in Canada;
• Hold a work permit that is expiring in the next four months;
• Be the principal applicant on an application for permanent residence under one of the Economic categories. These categories include: Federal Skilled Worker Class; Canadian Experience Class;       Federal Skilled Trades Class; Provincial Nominee Class; Caring for Children Class; or Caring for People with High Medical Needs Class; and
• Meet certain PR application eligibility check requirements, which depend on the type of application you submitted.

In order to apply for a BOWP, your application must have passed an initial eligibility check from IRCC and you must be able to provide proof. This looks a little different depending on the category you apply under:
• For applicants who applied under Express Entry, you can apply as soon as your electronic Application for Permanent Residence (e-APR) has been submitted online and you have received the initial Acknowledgement of Receipt letter from the online system. It is important to note that this Acknowledgement does not confirm that your e-APR has passed the initial completeness check and, while you can apply right away, your BOWP application will not be processed until your PR application passes this check and you receive your second Acknowledgement of Receipt letter. If your application does not pass this completeness check, your BOWP application could be refused; or
• For applicants who applied on paper, you can apply once you receive a letter confirming your positive eligibility assessment.

It is very important that you make your BOWP application at the correct time – if your PR application has not passed the required processing stage or your work permit is not expiring within the four month timeframe, your application will be refused and your ability to work in Canada can be impacted.

BOWPs and Family Members

If you qualify for a BOWP, you may also be able to extend your family member’s status at the same time you apply for your BOWP. Spouses or common-law partners of BOWP applicants may be eligible to extend or obtain open work permits.

In order for a spouse or common-law partner to qualify, the BOWP applicant must be a skilled worker (working in a NOC 0, A or B position in Canada) and be applying for a work permit for a duration of at least six months. The relationship between the BOWP applicant and spouse or common-law partner must also be proven.

Children that are in Canada as students or visitors will also be eligible to extend their study permits or visitor records along with the principal applicant’s BOWP application.

What If My Work Permit Extension Application Is Not Approved Before my Work Permit Expires?

It is important to consider the timing of your application and apply as soon as possible once you are within the four-month expiry timeline.

Once your work permit application is submitted you, and any family members included in your application, have implied status until a decision is received. Implied status means that, if your work permit or other status document expires after you submit your application but before you get a decision on that application, you can remain in Canada and continue to work until a decision is received.

It is very important to note that implied status is lost as soon as you travel outside of Canada. You could lose your right to re-enter Canada if you exit while under implied status.

We have over two decades of experience handling permanent residence and work permit applications. If your work permit will expire before your PR application is processed and you are concerned about maintaining your status and ability to work, we can guide you through the process and proper timing of your application.

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