Open work permit (International Mobility Program)
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
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 restrict the occupation or location but not the employer.
Important: Although there are no restrictions on the open work permit concerning the employer name, the foreign national is still subject to the general conditions imposed on all temporary residents under subsection 183(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).
These conditions state that the foreign national will not work for an employer who is referred to in any of subparagraphs R200(3)(h)(i) to (iii) or who, on a regular basis, offers the following:
- erotic dances
- escort services
- erotic massages
See the public list of employers who have been non-compliant for further information.
An open work permit can be issued to a foreign national only under one of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemptions.
A foreign national may apply for an open work permit outside Canada, at a port of entry or after arrival to Canada, as per program requirements.
On this page
- Types of open work permits
- Open employer and unrestricted occupation work permit coding
- Open employer but occupation- or location-restricted work permit coding
- Medical conditions to be imposed for open employer but occupation-restricted work permits
- Open work permit LMIA exemption categories
- Open work permit holder fee
Types of open work permits
There are two types of open work permits:
- unrestricted (allowing foreign nationals to work in any occupation and location)
- restricted (restricting the occupation or the location)
Open work permits may be issued with the following:
- occupational restrictions, depending on the applicant’s medical status [R185(b)]
- location restrictions, depending on the category (such as a bridging open work permit under the provincial nominee class)
Open employer and unrestricted occupation work permit coding
Officers should code the unrestricted occupation open work permits in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) as per the following:
- Employer name: unspecified or unknown
- Location: unspecified or unknown
- Occupation: NOC 9999 (no other code should be used)
- Medical conditions: 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 but occupation- or location-restricted work permit coding
Officers should code the open employer but occupation- or location-restricted work permits in GCMS as follows:
- Employer name: unknown or unspecified
- Location: restricted, as per the requirements of the LMIA exemption category (for instance, bridging work permits to provincial nominees are restricted to the province of nomination)
- restricted due to LMIA exemption requirements (the specific NOC code for the occupation [such as FMIOA interns])
- restricted due to medical results (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)
Note: The occupational restriction stated in the medical narrative should be noted in the “User Remarks” field in GCMS (for instance, the physician may note that a person with epilepsy should not be a pilot or work at heights or near open machinery).
- restricted due to no medical examination (where a foreign national has not completed an immigration medical examination, the open work permit may be issued, but conditions must be imposed restricting specific occupational sectors, as noted below)
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.
Medical conditions to be imposed for open employer but 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.”
Open work permit LMIA exemption categories
- Refugee claimants and those under an unenforceable removal order [persons described under paragraph R206(a) or (b)] (exemption code S61 or S62)
- Applicants for permanent residence from within Canada [persons described under paragraph R207] (exemption code A70)
- Open work permit for vulnerable workers [persons described under section R207.1] (exemption code A72)
- Humanitarian reasons [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 participants (exemption code C21) (there are also specific recognized organizations whose participants receive open work permits)
- family members of foreign representatives and of military personnel who are LMIA-exempt (exemption code C20), where a reciprocal arrangement exists
- professional athletes who are authorized to enter Canada on the basis of exemption C20 and who require other work to support themselves while playing for a Canadian team (for instance, as part of the Canadian Football League)
- Spouses or common-law partners of skilled workers eligible under paragraph R205(c) (exemption code C41)
- Spouses or common-law partners of foreign students eligible under paragraph R205(c) (exemption code C42)
- Bridging open work permits (exemption code A75)
- Open work permit pilot program for permanent residence applicants in the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (A70)
- Post graduate work permits (C43)
- Post-secondary co-op (C32) and secondary co-op (C33)
Open work permit holder fee
Subsection R303.2(1) requires that a fee be 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 R204 or R205 or is described in paragraph R207(b) and does not have an offer of employment.
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.
Fee exemption codes
P01: Persons who do not pay a work permit processing fee under the IRPR, with the exception of International Experience Canada participants, are not required to pay the open work permit fee
P02: Members of the live-in caregiver class in Canada who have applied for permanent residence under paragraph R207(a), and their family members.
Note: Open work permits issued based on LMIA exemptions under section R206 (S61 or s62) or R208 (H81 or H82) are not subject to the open work permit holder fee. These sections are not included in the regulation applying the fee. Fee exemption code P03 should be used in these cases.
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