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New Open Work Permit to be Introduced for Essential Workers and International Graduates

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Temporary residents who were in danger of losing their work permits before becoming permanent residents will soon be eligible for a new open work permit, based on new information released by Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino. Essential workers and international students who have applied for one of the new pathways to permanent residency are now eligible for an open work permit that can be used while the candidate awaits the results of their application. After 26 July 2021, if a candidate’s work or study permit expires before their application is approved or denied by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the candidate can apply for an open work permit.

Unlike Express Entry applicants, immigration applicants from the new pathways could not apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) due to technicalities that had not been addressed. This meant that those with soon-to-expire documents would be ineligible to extend their stay in Canada even while awaiting results of their permanent residence application. According to Mendicino, this new open work permit ensures that temporary residents who have held essential roles during the pandemic can continue their work without interruption. The work permits issued under this new policy will be good until 31 December 2022.

There were bridging options available for some candidates, such as the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) for international students, part of a temporary measure set up by the federal government in January. However, the PGWP will no longer be available after 27 July 2021.

To demonstrate eligibility for this one-time open work permit, candidates must have:

  • applied under one of the new permanent residence pathways
  • authorization to work at the time of they filed their application
  • a valid work permit that is due to expire sometime within the coming four months
  • temporary residence status, maintained status, or eligibility to restore status at the time of their open work permit application
  • proof that they are in Canada when their open work permit application is submitted
  • proof that they were employed at the time of submitting their application for permanent residence
  • proof that they meet any language requirements for the stream under which they applied when their application was submitted

The open work permit is also available to the candidate’s spouse or common-law partner and any dependent children over the age of 18, as long as they are also in Canada.

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