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Waiting for PR: Provincial Nominees and Express Entry Candidates Work Permit Options

Have you been nominated by a province for permanent residence in Canada? Or gotten an invitation to apply on Express Entry? Here we discuss eligibility for a work permit extension under those circumstances. Most people have heard of a bridging open work permit but there is a lot of confusion at which point one becomes eligible to apply for this work permit and also what your options may be if you are not eligible at the moment but need to get a work permit extension regardless.


Provincial Nominees


If you received a nomination certificate from a province after having applied for provincial nomination, you must wait to get a file number after having submitted your federal application for permanent residence prior to applying for a bridging open work permit. In other words, getting a nomination certificate does not mean that you are automatically eligible for an open work permit.


In provinces which impose employment restrictions on provincial nominees until they receive permanent residence, a bridging open work permit is not available and the candidate will be refused. Check the "restrictions on Employment" section of your "Confirmation of Nomination" for this particular information.


Where an open work permit is not an option, there is an LMIA-exempt closed, employer specific work permit under the International mobility program whereby the employer would submit an offer of employment via the employer portal and pay a $230 employer compliance fee. The worker would then include the offer of employment number along with their application for a work permit which could be approved for the same length of time as indicated on the job offer. No LMIA would be necessary in this case and the work permit could be issued for 2 years. A file number from the federal PR application is not required in order to meet the eligibility for this particular program.


To be eligible for a BOWP, foreign nationals must

  • be currently living in Canada

  • have valid status on a work permit that is due to expire within the next 4 months (not within a restoration period)

  • be the principal applicant on an APR under the FSWC, the CEC, the FSTC, the PNC (see note below), the AFP or 1 of the 2 caregiver classes (submitted before June 18, 2019)

  • have completed one of the following APR stages:

  • electronic application for permanent residence (e-APR) submitted under Express Entry has passed the section 10 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) completeness check; or

  • receipt of a positive eligibility assessment on their paper APR submitted by mail under one of the economic classes above

  • have applied for a bridging open work permit

  • have paid the required fees

  • have provided evidence that their provincial nomination is unrestricted (for example, nomination certificate)


Express Entry


For those who have submitted an Express Entry profile and are awaiting selection, this does not imply eligibility for a bridging open work permit. The eligibility would be possible once you received your letter of invitation to apply for permanent residence after having been selected in the EE draw and then filed a complete application. In other words, the PR application must be in process already, the fees having been paid. At that point, a work permit extension can be filed and will be assessed once the completeness check for the PR application is passed.


The eligibility criteria described above for a bridging open work permit apply to EE applicants as well as the provincial nominees in the same way.


Upon receipt of the application, the processing office confirms the following:

  • The APR under one of the economic classes (FSWC, CEC, FSTC, AFP, 2 caregiver classes [submitted before June 18, 2019] and PNC [with no employment restrictions as a condition of the nomination, as specified above]) has passed the required permanent residence application stage.

  • The foreign national is currently in Canada.

  • The foreign national currently holds a valid work permit that expires within the next 4 months, and there are no other issues of concern.

  • The work permit application is for a bridging open work permit

  • The open work permit holder fee has been paid in addition to the processing fee.

  • The applicant is not inadmissible to Canada.


A spouse and dependents of a bridging open work permit holder are also eligible for extensions of status with the same expiry date of their permits.


Click here to learn more.


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Bridging Open Work Permit & Work Permit Extension Options

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