The Bridging Open Work Permit Program (“BOWP”) has emerged as a work permit program of significant importance introduced by the government of Canada. It is designed to address the needs of applicants who have applied for permanent residence in Canada.
This program offers an opportunity for permanent residence applicants to work in Canada while awaiting the outcome of their applications submitted under certain categories. By bridging the gap between permanent residence application and approval, the BOWP enables applicants to maintain authorization to work and live in Canada as well as contribute to the Canadian economy during the processing of their permanent residence applications.
While the BOWP paves the way for working during the waiting period, applicants can also take advantage of an opportunity for a successful integration into Canadian society.
The BOWP encompasses six categories of permanent residence programs in which applicants may be considered eligible.
These categories include the following:
The eligibility criteria to obtain the BOWP for some of these programs will be briefly explained here. It should be noted that applicants are generally required to apply online.
Express Entry stands as the mainstream avenue among all permanent residence programs for economic immigrants to achieve permanent residence in Canada. Express Entry is designed for skilled immigrants who aspire to settle in Canada and contribute to the Canadian economy.
Express Entry comprises three permanent residence programs: (i) Federal Skilled Worker; (ii) Canadian Experience Class; and (iii) Federal Skilled Trades Program. Express Entry provides a comprehensive pathway for skilled individuals to pursue their immigration goals in Canada.
In order to be eligible for the BOWP under the Express Entry Program, first applicants should have a pending permanent residence application submitted under one of the Express Entry programs. Only having a profile set up for Express Entry does not render eligible the profile holders to apply for the BOWP.
Applicants should have received an invitation to apply (“ITA”) and have already submitted their application for permanent residence. Second, applicants are required to live in Canada and have no intention of settling in Quebec when applying for the BOWP. Once the BOWP application is submitted, applicants are able to travel when their applications are in process as long although they may face issue travelling back to Canada if they are not a holder of an ETA or Canadian visa.
However, leaving Canada after an applicant’s work permit expires would prevent that applicant from working, unless the new application is approved. The exception to this rule is that if the applicant either possesses a valid work permit, or an expired work permit but maintained the status as a worker, or is eligible to restore the status and obtain a work permit, the applicant may be deemed eligible to work in Canada.
Another important requirement is that applicants must be the principal applicant on their permanent residence application that they have submitted a complete application and passed the completeness check, which resulted in issuance of an application number. It is important for applicants to acknowledge receipt letter upon the conclusion of their permanent residence application.
The BOWP under the Provincial Nominee Program is possible through 2 different ways: (i) via Express Entry; and (ii) outside Express Entry. While the requirements under Express Entry are identical to other categories of Express Entry, for other provincial nominees, there is an additional condition that applicants should meet.
They should not be subjected to any employment restrictions, which should be confirmed by a copy of the nomination letter issued by the nominating province. Applicants must ensure that they also submit a copy of their nomination letters. Those applicants should also demonstrate that their applications for permanent residence are approved in principle. In this case, the decision of approval in principle should be submitted along with the BOWP application.
The requirements are slightly different under this category, as additional conditions apply. Applicants are required to be approved in principle for permanent residence if they intend to apply for the BOWP. Besides that, Applicants are under the obligation to provide evidence demonstrating that they have 24 months of qualifying work experience.
Applicants are expected to fulfill one of the following requirements: they should either have a valid work permit; should have applied to extend their work permits before their original permit expired; or they should be eligible to restore their status and obtain a work permit. It should be noted that a copy of the decision of approval in principle must be added to supporting documents.
The Bridging Open Work Permit Program presents an opportunity to work in Canada for individuals who have applied for permanent residence under one of the six eligible programs. This program offers a tailored solution for those eager to take part in the Canadian workforce while awaiting a decision on their permanent residence applications.