Open Work Permit

Open Work permit in Canada – Work in Canada

What is an open work permit?

An open work permit is a work permit that is not job-specific. Because it is not job-specific, you will not need the following when you apply for your work permit:

  • a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada; or
  • proof that an employer has submitted an offer of employment through the Employer Portal and paid the employer compliance fee.

In most cases, you will have to pay the open work permit holder fee at the same time that you pay the work permit fee.

An open work permit allows a foreign national to work for any Canadian employer he/she wants over a specified period of time. Some open work permits may restrict the kind of job or place in which the foreign national may work. A worker may apply for an open work permit from outside of Canada, within Canada or at a Canadian port of entry.

Who can apply for an open work permit?

You may be eligible for an open work permit if you:

  • are an international student who graduated from a designated learning institution and are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program
  • are a student who’s no longer able to meet the costs of your studies (destitute student)
  • have an employer-specific work permit and are being abused or at risk of being abused in relation to your job in Canada
  • applied for permanent residence in Canada
  • are a dependent family member of someone who applied for permanent residence
  • are the spouse or common-law partner of a skilled worker or international student
  • are the spouse or common-law partner of an applicant of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program
  • are a refugee, refugee claimant, protected person or their family member
  • are under an unenforceable removal order
  • are a temporary resident permit holder
  • are a young worker participating in special programs

Types of open work permits

There are two types of open work permits:

  • unrestricted (allowing foreign nationals to work in any occupation and location)
  • restricted (restricting the occupation or the location)

Open work permits may be issued with the following:

  • occupational restrictions, depending on the applicant’s medical status [R185(b)]
  • location restrictions, depending on the category (such as a bridging open work permit under the provincial nominee class)

Under an unrestricted open work permit, a foreign national can work in any job, in any place and for any employer. An unrestricted open work permit will be given to eligible workers who have passed the medical exam (Medical Exams for Temporary Foreign Worker Applicants). Unrestricted open work permits can also be given to eligible workers mentioned who:

  • Have failed the medical exam AND
  • Either have no other means of support (Applicant with No Other Means of Support) or belong to certain groups of permanent resident applicants living in Canada. (Permanent Residence Applicants in Canada)

Under an occupation restricted open permit, an eligible person may work for any employer but the job in which the person must work will be specified. The job restriction is due to the fact that occupation restricted open permits are given to eligible workers who have not completed a medical exam. Thus, holders of occupation restricted open permits are usually not allowed to work in jobs related to health.

If an eligible worker receives an occupation restricted open permit and is from a country that does not require a medical exam when entering Canada, he/she will not be allowed to work in:

  • Childcare
  • Primary or secondary school teaching
  • Health services

If an eligible worker acquires an occupation restricted open permit and is from a country that does require a medical exam, he/she will not be allowed to work in:

  • Childcare
  • Primary or secondary school teaching
  • Health services
  • Farming
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