The new “Bridging Open Work Permit” – Canadian Immigration News
On December 17, 2012, Canadian immigration officials announced the creation of the new “Bridging Open Work Permit”. The bridging open work permit was designed to help certain federal economic-class applicants maintain legal working status in Canada, while they await a final determination on their Canadian permanent residency application. The bridging open work permit allows permanent resident applicants to continue working in Canada despite having an expired Canada work permit.
Jason Kenney, the Minister of Canadian Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, explained that Canadian immigration officials are making efforts to create a more rapid and flexible immigration process, by removing unnecessary obstacles for skilled workers who want to immigrate to Canada and contribute to its economic growth. Canada’s intention is to help individuals navigate its Canadian immigration system and eliminate hurdles that unnecessarily hinder the application process.
As previously mentioned, this new open work permit will help foreign nationals maintain a foothold in the Canadian labour market as they transition from a Canada work permit to Canadian permanent residency. Foreign workers may be issued this open work permit if they have submitted an application under one of the following four Federal Canadian immigration programs: 1) Canadian Experience Class; 2) Provincial Nominee Program; 3) Federal Skilled Worker Program; or 4) Federal Skilled Trades Program.
The applicant must already be working in Canada with a valid Canada work permit that is set to expire within 4 months. The applicant must have also received confirmation from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that their application for permanent residency is eligible through one of the four Canadian immigration programs mentioned above. The new bridging open work permits are valid for one year from the date they are issued.
Eligibility Requirements in Summary:
- Canadian foreign worker must be legally present in Canada
- Canadian foreign worker must have a valid Canada work permit that is set to expire within four months
- Canadian foreign worker must be confirmed as “eligible” in one of the four Federal Economic Classes, by Citizenship Immigration Canada.
- Canadian foreign worker must submit an application for the Bridging Open Work Permit.
Note that although applicants must be found eligible for Canadian permanent residency, eligibility does not guarantee the applicant will be issued a Canadian permanent residency visa.
This new Canada work permit is meant to address past incidents of temporary work permits expiring before their permanent resident applications could be processed. This often complicated the process for the foreign worker and Canadian employer, and at times required the applicant to stop working and leave Canada. Other Canada immigration streams, such as sponsorship and live-in caregiver programs, already had open work permits available to them to address such concerns. As such, providing the same option to temporary foreign workers results in consistent and fair treatment for temporary foreign workers already in Canada.
Canadian immigration officials are cognizant of potential pitfalls within the Canadian immigration process. It is their intention to improve Canada’s model by preventing unwarranted disruption in the lives of foreign workers contributing to the Canadian economy.
For a free consultation with a Canadian immigration lawyer, contact First Immigration Law Firm toll-free in North America @ 1 (855) 360-4333 or 1 (514) 360-4333 internationally.