Work Anywhere in Canada: Your Guide to the Open Work Permit

Considering a work adventure in Canada? The Open Work Permit might be your key! Unlike employer-specific permits, it grants you the flexibility to work for any employer across Canada.
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Looking to explore exciting work opportunities in Canada? The Open Work Permit might be your perfect key! This special permit grants you the freedom to work for any employer across Canada, unlike the employer-specific permit that restricts you to a single company.

In this guide, we’ll explore the types of work permits available in Canada, the benefits of an open work permit, eligibility requirements, and the application process.

Understanding Work Permits in Canada

Canada offers two main work permit options:

1. Employer-Specific Work Permit

This permit is tied to a specific job offer from a Canadian employer. They’ll sponsor your application, but you can only work for them and must leave Canada upon permit expiry.

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  • Restricted to One Employer: You can only work for the employer who sponsored your permit.
  • Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA): Typically required to prove that hiring a foreign worker won’t negatively affect the Canadian job market.
  • Limited Family Benefits: Generally, you cannot bring your family under this permit.

2. Open Work Permit

This permit grants you the flexibility to work for any employer in Canada. It also allows your family to potentially join you.

  • Work for Any Employer: Offers flexibility to work for any employer in Canada.
  • No LMIA Required: Usually does not require an LMIA unless the job is LMIA-exempt.
  • Family Benefits: You can bring your family with you to Canada.

Comparing Open and Employer-Specific Work Permits

FeatureOpen Work PermitEmployer-Specific Work Permit
Employer FlexibilityAny employerSpecific employer only
LMIA RequirementNot required (unless job-specific)Required
Family InclusionYesNo

The Canada Spouse Open Work Permit

A Canada Spouse Open Work Permit is available to spouses, common-law partners, or dependent children of individuals who have applied for permanent residency (PR) in Canada. To qualify, the principal applicant’s PR application must be under review by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Also Read: The Ultimate Guide to Canada’s Open Work Permits for H-1B Visa Holders

Open Work Permit Eligibility Requirements

To apply for an open work permit, applicants must:

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  • Intent to Leave: Demonstrate intent to leave Canada when the permit expires.
  • Financial Stability: Show proof of sufficient funds to support themselves and their family.
  • Health and Safety Compliance: Undergo medical examinations if required.
  • Clean Criminal Record: Adhere to Canadian law and have no criminal record.
  • Eligible Employers: Avoid employment with ineligible employers, such as those listed on IRCC’s ineligible employers list or those involved in services like striptease or escort services.

Who Qualifies for an Open Work Permit?

Here are some scenarios where you might be eligible for an Open Work Permit:

Recent Graduate: Are you a graduate of a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada? You might qualify for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) – a type of open work permit.

Financial Difficulties: Facing financial challenges during your studies in Canada? An open work permit can help you earn income to support yourself.

Dependent on PR Applicant: Are you a dependent of someone who has applied for PR in Canada? You might be eligible for an open work permit.

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Temporary Resident Permit Holder: Do you hold a temporary resident permit in Canada? You may be eligible for an open work permit under certain circumstances.

PR Application in Process: Have you applied for Canadian PR and are waiting for a decision? An open work permit can bridge the gap while you wait.

Spouse of a Foreign Student: As the spouse of a student studying in Canada, you might be eligible for an open work permit.

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Applying for an Open Work Permit from India (or any Country)

The application process involves these key steps:

Step 1 – Create or Sign in to IRCC Account: Set up an IRCC account (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) to access the online application system.

Step 2 – Choose Application Type: Select “Work Permit” as your application type.

Step 3 – Complete Application & Gather Documents: Fill out the application form and gather all necessary documents as requested by IRCC.

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Step 4 – Pay the Application Fee: Submit the required application fee to process your request.

Step 5 – Approval and Introduction Letter: Upon approval, IRCC will issue an approval letter and a letter of introduction, which you’ll need at the port of entry.

Step 6 – Arrival in Canada: Prepare your passport, travel document, and visitor visa (if required) for your arrival in Canada. A border officer will verify your identity, medical exam results, and fingerprints. Your work permit may be printed upon arrival.

Step 7 – Processing Time & Fees: The processing time for an Open Work Permit application from India can be around 21 days (this timeframe can vary). The application fee is CAD 100.

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Bringing Family to Canada with an Open Work Permit

An open work permit allows you to sponsor your family members to live, study, or even work in Canada. However, if your spouse or partner doesn’t plan to work, they’ll need to apply for a visitor visa or study visa separately.

The Rise of Open Work Permits

With its flexibility and affordability compared to employer-specific work permits, the demand for open work permits has been steadily increasing. In 2022, a significant 23% of all work permits issued in Canada were open work permits.

Ready to Start Your Canadian Journey?

The Open Work Permit opens doors to exciting work opportunities and the chance to build a life in Canada. Research further and consider consulting with licensed immigration professionals to ensure a smooth application process.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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