Under the International Mobility program, an open work permit enables a person to work for any employer for a specified period of time. An open restricted permit may, however, restrict the occupation or location but not the employer.
An open work permit can be issued only to a foreign national exempt from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
A foreign national may apply for an open work permit outside of Canada, at a port of entry or after arrival to Canada, as per program requirements.
Types of open work permits
There are two types of open work permits: those that are unrestricted and allow foreign nationals to work in any occupation, and those that restrict the occupation or the location. Open work permits may be issued with occupational restrictions, depending on the applicant’s medical status [R185(b)], or with location restrictions, depending on the category (e.g., bridging open work permit under the provincial nominee class).
Open employer/unrestricted occupation work permit
- The employer and the location should be listed as “unspecified or unknown”.
- The occupation is unrestricted; only National Occupational Classification (NOC) code 9999 should be used.
- The permit can be issued to any eligible applicant who has passed a medical examination for immigration purposes with a result of M1, M2, or M3 (medical examination passed), or who has failed the medical examination (M5) but satisfies the criteria of section R206 or paragraph R207(c) or (d).
Note: Medical surveillance must be imposed for persons assessed as M2/S2. Remarks on the permit should indicate “medical surveillance required”.
Open employer/occupation- or location-restricted work permit
- The employer is unknown or unspecified.
- Where a foreign national was assessed as M3 or M4 in their medical examination, an occupation restriction must be specified on the work permit because the person cannot work in jobs where the protection of the public health is required. The occupational restriction stated in the medical narrative (e.g., the physician may note that a person with epilepsy should not be a pilot or work at heights or near open machinery) should be noted in the visible Remarks section of the work permit (officers are to enter the restriction in the User Remarks field in the Global Case Management System [GCMS]).
- Where a foreign national has not completed an immigration medical examination, the permit may be issued, but conditions must be imposed restricting specific occupational sectors, as noted below.
- The location should be restricted, as per the requirements of the LMIA exemption category (e.g., bridging work permits to provincial nominees are restricted to the province of nomination).
Note: Persons assessed as M4 or M6 (risk to public health or safety) are not allowed to work. If the condition is controlled, a new medical examination is required before a work permit may be issued.
Conditions to be imposed for open employer/occupation‑restricted work permits
If a medical examination was not completed, one of the conditions below must be imposed. The specific occupational sector restriction will depend on whether the person has resided in a designated or non-designated country.
For persons from non-designated countries, the following condition should appear on the work permit:
“Not authorized to work in 1) child care, 2) primary or secondary school teaching, 3) health services field occupations.”
For persons from designated countries, the following condition should appear on the work permit:
“Not authorized to work in 1) child care, 2) primary or secondary school teaching, 3) health services field occupations, 4) agricultural occupations.”
Who can be issued an open work permit?
Applicants in the following categories are eligible:
- persons described under paragraph R206(a) or (b) (exemption code S61 or S62);
- persons described under paragraph R207 (exemption code A70);
- persons described under paragraph R208(a) or (b) (exemption code H81 or H82);
- certain workers authorized to enter Canada on a reciprocal basis:
- Canada World Youth Program participants (exemption code C20),
- International Experience Canada working holiday exchange programs participants (exemption code C21) (there are also specific recognized organizations whose participants receive open work permits [such as GO International, SWAP, and INTERNex]),
- family members of foreign representatives and of military personnel who are LMIA-exempt (exemption code C20), where a reciprocal arrangement exists,
- professional athletes authorized to enter Canada on the basis of exemption C20 who require other work to support themselves while playing for a Canadian team (e.g., Canadian Football League);
- spouses of skilled workers eligible under paragraph R205(c) (exemption code C41);
- spouses of foreign students eligible under paragraph R205(c) (exemption code C42);
- qualifying foreign nationals currently in Canada who have submitted an application for permanent residence under one of the economic classes (the federal skilled worker class [FSWC], the Canadian experience class [CEC], the provincial nominee class [PNC], or the federal skilled trades class [FSTC]) or under one of the caregiver classes (caring for children class or caring for people with high medical needs class) and who meet eligibility requirements may be considered for a bridging open work permit if their current work permit expires in the next four months (exemption code A75);
- qualifying foreign nationals who have submitted an application for permanent residence under the spouse or common-law partner in Canada (SCLPC) class.
- As of December 22, 2014, open work permits may be issued to eligible applicants under the SCLPC class at an earlier stage in processing. This pilot project will end on December 21, 2016.
- Officers will issue open work permits to SCLPC class applicants if they meet the following requirements:
- a permanent residence application has been submitted under the SCLPC class;
- a Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse has submitted a sponsorship application on their behalf;
- the SCLPC class applicant resides at the same address as the sponsor; and
- the SCLPC class applicant has valid temporary resident status (as a visitor, student, or worker).
- Applicants whose application for permanent residence is being processed under the spousal public policy (subcategory “PP” in GCMS) on the basis that they do not have a valid temporary resident status are not eligible to be issued an open work permit under the pilot project. They must wait until they receive approval in principle to be eligible to apply for an open work permit.
- Case processing centres will ensure that the requirements are met and conduct a systems check to identify any adverse information on either the sponsor or the applicant that would render the applicant ineligible to receive an open work permit. If there is information that an applicant is inadmissible, their application for an open work permit will be refused.
- Validity: These work permits are valid for two years or until the date the SCLPC class applicant’s passport expires, whichever is the earliest.
- Additional GCMS coding: Use special program code “SPO” (sponsored spouse or partner) and standard note “Pending FC APR” (to be entered in User Remarks so it appears on the physical document).
- In combination with LMIA exemption code A70 and NOC code 9999, this additional coding will allow Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to capture and report on data specific to the issuance of open work permits to SCLPC class applicants.
If a medical examination has not been completed, work permits should be open employer/occupation-restricted.
Open work permit holder fee
Subsection R303.2(1) requires that a fee is payable by a person for the rights and privileges conferred by means of an open work permit if that person is intending to perform work under section 204 or 205, or is described in paragraph 207(b) and does not have an offer of employment.
Note: Work permits issued under section 206 or 208 are not subject to the open work permit holder fee.
There are exceptions to the payment of the open work permit holder fee for specific persons. Subsection R303.2(2) provides the list of exceptions.
- Date Modified: