Bridging open work permits for certain economic class permanent residence applicants [R205(a) - A75] – International Mobility Program

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

These instructions apply to IRCC employees. Given that applicants cannot submit their applications at a port of entry, the instructions do not apply to border services officers.

The instructions on this page should be reviewed in conjunction with

All in-Canada visitor extension, study permit and work permit applications must be submitted electronically, with some exceptions. Consult the list of programs that are exempt from the in-Canada mandatory electronic application requirement.

Qualifying foreign nationals currently in Canada who meet program eligibility requirements may be considered for an open work permit to transition between the expiry of their current work permit and the final decision on their application for permanent residence (APR).

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General eligibility

To be eligible for a bridging open work permit (BOWP), foreign nationals must

The department uses specific administrative codes to identify certain situations where it considers the work of a foreign national to create significant social, cultural or economic benefits or opportunities for Canadian citizens or permanent residents, as described in R205(a). The factors provided for each code demonstrate how the situation may meet the requirements of R205(a). Officers must also always be satisfied that all requirements of R200 are met.

The administrative code A75 is the code under which the work of certain foreign nationals, who are already working in Canada and are able to maintain their employment and settle while transitioning to permanent residence, may create significant economic or social benefits.

As such, the following foreign nationals do not qualify for a BOWP:

  • foreign nationals in Canada under section R186 who are exempt from the work permit requirement, except those under paragraph R186(u). This cohort is not transitioning from a work permit to permanent residence.
  • foreign nationals applying for a BOWP at a port of entry or visa office (as they have not yet been authorized to enter as a temporary resident under section A22). There is a significant benefit to applicants being physically in Canada and working while transitioning to permanent residence.
  • spouses and dependants of principal permanent residence applicants. This cohort of foreign nationals has access to work permits under different LMIA exemption categories.
  • foreign nationals who are inadmissible to Canada

Documentary evidence

Applicants for a BOWP must provide the following:

Specific eligibility – Provincial nominees

Foreign nationals in the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) are eligible for a BOWP only if they

  • provided with their application a copy of the nomination letter issued by the nominating province or territory that indicates their employment is unrestricted
  • selected “Open Work Permit” on their application form

For certain employer-driven streams in the PNP, the nominating province or territory may impose employment restrictions on a successful nominee until the person becomes a permanent resident. If employment restrictions are imposed, IRCC does not issue an open work permit to the foreign national under the BOWP LMIA exemption. For provincial nominees with employment restrictions, see Foreign workers nominated by a province or territory (LMIA exemption code T13).

To help officers determine if the applicant is subject to restrictions on employment, a nomination template letter has been provided to all provinces and territories. Provinces and territories have been instructed to choose “Yes” or “No” in the “Restrictions on employment” field, as this provides IRCC officers with confirmation of whether or not the nominee is, in fact, eligible to apply for a BOWP.

Template letter

New version of box included in the nomination letter, showing the Employer, Name of occupation and NOC, and Restrictions on employment fields

Provinces and territories may include an employer or the name of the occupation and the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code and still indicate that there are no employment restrictions. In these cases, applicants are eligible for an open work permit, provided they meet the other eligibility criteria. A separate letter from the applicant or the nominating province to confirm that no employment restrictions exist should not be requested.

Employment location (mandatory imposition of condition)

When a BOWP is being issued to an applicant for permanent residence under the PNP, the employment location on the work permit must be restricted to the nominating province. See Specific conditions related to temporary work

Therefore, in the Global Case Management System (GCMS), the “Province of Destination” must be the nominating province. The “City of Destination” is the name of the province followed by “NES” (not elsewhere stated) to allow for work anywhere in the nominating province.

For example:

  • Province of Destination: AB
  • City of Destination: Alberta NES

Specific eligibility – Agri-Food Pilot

BOWP applications for the Agri-Food Pilot (AFP) must be submitted online. Applicants must provide their approval in principle letter in the “Client Information” field with their online work permit application.

Specific eligibility – Quebec skilled workers

Under the terms of the Canada–Quebec Accord, Quebec is responsible for selecting applicants destined for the province of Quebec, and IRCC is responsible for determining admissibility. Those selected by the province are issued a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ).

Applicants in the Quebec skilled workers class are eligible for a BOWP after a completeness check (R10). The CSQ must have been valid when the APR was submitted.

Employment location

When a BOWP is being issued to an applicant for permanent residence under the QSWC, the employment location on the work permit must be restricted to the province of Quebec. See: Specific conditions related to temporary work

Therefore, in the GCMS, the “Province of Destination” must be “QC,” and the “City of Destination” must be entered as Quebec NES (not elsewhere stated), as in the following example:

  • Province of Destination: QC
  • City of Destination: Quebec NES

Work permit validity for QSWC

QSWC processing times usually extend to 24 months or more. Therefore, to ensure that applicants do not have to submit multiple work permit extensions, the duration for the initial BOWP is 24 months or passport validity, whichever is shorter.

Extensions, if needed, should be issued for 12 months.

However, on a case-by-case basis, officers may use their discretion, depending on current processing times for QSWC permanent residence applications.

Specific eligibility – Home Child Care Provider Pilot (HCCPP) or Home Support Worker Pilot (HSWP)

Foreign nationals in the HCCPP or HSWP are eligible for a BOWP if they have received a positive eligibility decision (approval in principle) on their application for permanent residence after completing their qualifying work experience.

Under the ministerial instructions dated June 18, 2019, applicants in the HCCPP or the HSWP had to complete 24 months of qualifying work experience. On April 30, 2023, the 24 months of experience was reduced to 12 months of qualifying experience. This change applies to all applications, including pending applications.

The application should be submitted online unless the applicant is exempt from the requirement to submit an in-Canada application online under R9.4 or R9.5.

How pilot applicants provide proof of their work experience depends on their category:

Important: In the case where a Category A applicant obtains the qualifying work experience before being issued a work permit under this administrative code, after passing eligibility on the PR application, assess the work permit under the Bridging open work permit guidance.

The following special program code should be used:

CARE4411 (Caregivers – HCCP Pilot)

CARE4412 (Caregivers – HSW Pilot)

Application assessment

Work permit applications are processed based on the information provided by the foreign national. If the foreign national has indicated on their work permit application that they are applying for an open work permit, officers must ensure that the applicant meets the eligibility requirements, regardless of whether an employer’s name is mentioned in the application.

If it is clear that complex or contentious issues or concerns exist on the APR (for example, the APR is approved in principle, but further investigation on the client is required), the work permit application should be referred to a local office for additional review. Once satisfied that any complex or contentious issues have been resolved, the local office can issue the work permit following these same instructions.

Important: Officers should ensure that both general and specific eligibility are met.

Permanent residence application stage

Express Entry or QSWC: Completeness check

If a foreign national submits an e-APR using Express Entry or submits an application under the QSWC, they may apply for an open work permit using this administrative LMIA exemption code once they meet the General eligibility criteria.

A BOWP can only be issued if the e-APR or QSWC application has passed the section R10 completeness check. As such, Express Entry applicants or QSWC applicants should submit their acknowledgement of receipt with their BOWP application.

Before issuing a BOWP, officers must check the GCMS to ensure that the Centralized Intake Office (CIO) has reviewed the application and determined that it meets the requirements of a complete application as described in sections R10 and R12.01.

If the e-APR or QSWC APR is incomplete, the application for a BOWP must be refused. The open work permit holder fee should be refunded, but the processing fee can't be.

Complete application: The CIO enters the following case note in GCMS: “R10 OK.”

Incomplete application: The CIO cancels the e-APR and enter the following note in GCMS: “E-APR rejected as incomplete. Client not eligible for BOWP.”

Non-Express Entry APR: Determining if a positive eligibility decision has been made

If the paper APR under one of the qualifying economic classes was submitted outside Express Entry (except for applications under the QSWC), there must have been a positive eligibility assessment for the foreign national to be eligible for a BOWP.

The positive eligibility assessment is considered to be made once the status of the “Eligibility” field in the GCMS is set to one of the following:

  • For application received on or after January 1, 2015: “Passed”
  • For applications received before January 1, 2015: “Met”

See further requirements above under Specific eligibility – Provincial nominees and Specific Eligibility – Agri-Food Pilot.

Applicants applying for a BOWP must include evidence that confirms they have met eligibility with their open work permit application.


Subsequent requests from applicants to extend their stay on an unrestricted open work permit should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Final decision


On the Application screen, officers should confirm or enter the following information in the specified fields:

Field Selection or Input
Case Type 27 Under examination
Exemption Code A75
Province of Destination For provincial nominees and QSWC only: employment must be limited to the province or territory of nomination
City of Destination

For provincial nominees and QSWC only: [Name of province] NES (not elsewhere stated)

For example, Alberta NES, Quebec NES

NOC 99999
Intended Occupation Open
Employer Open
Valid to 24 months from date of issue
Conditions – Medical If no medical examination was completed, see Medical conditions to be imposed for open employer but occupation-restricted work permits
Conditions - Location

For PNP and QSWC applications, the following location condition must be imposed:

Not authorized to work in any location other than stated.

User Remark (mandatory)

APR Pending

For HCCPP or HSWP: Pending APR stage-2 approval / Caregiver pilot

Important: In HCCPP or HSWP applications, the officer must input the User remark on the work permit. This remark, in addition to the case type code, ensures eligibility for continued health care coverage by the province or territory.


If an officer has determined that the applicant does not meet the eligibility requirements, they should record their reasons for the decision as per the instructions in: Decision making: Standard of review and process for making a reasonable decision.

Family members

Under the authority of subparagraph 205(c)(ii) of the IRPR, genuine accompanying spouses, common-law partners and dependant children are eligible for an open work permit under the administrative code C49 if the principal foreign national was issued a bridging open work permit under the administrative code A75. For instructions about eligibility and coding, consult Family members of work permit holders who are Economic Class permanent resident applicants or were nominated or selected by a province – [C49].

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