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.

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

See Bridging open work permits (BOWPs) for caregivers for information about the BOWP under the Home Child-Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot.

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 BOWP, foreign nationals must

Note: For specific eligibility criteria regarding PNP, AFP and QSWC applicants, please see

There are specific situations that IRCC considers, by policy, as meeting the requirements of paragraph R205(a), meaning the work of a foreign national creates significant economic, cultural or other competitive advantages for Canada or there are reciprocal benefits enjoyed by Canadians and permanent residents.

The labour market impact assessment (LMIA) exemption code for BOWPs is based on the significant benefit provided by applicants who are already working in Canada and are able to maintain their employment and settle while transitioning to permanent residence.

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). The significant benefit is provided by 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

Officers may still assess foreign nationals who do not meet the specific considerations for an A75 exemption on a case-by-case basis, possibly under the broader LMIA exemption code C10 also used for assessment under paragraph R205(a).

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 and
  • 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 work permit online application.

Specific eligibility – Quebec skilled workers

Under the terms of the Canada–Quebec Accord, Quebec is responsible for the selection of applicants destined to 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 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.

Review of BOWP applications

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 ensure that the applicant meets the eligibility requirements, regardless of whether or not 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 be issued only 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 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 cannot 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 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.

Work permit issuance in the Global Case Management System (GCMS)

The open work permit is issued under the authority of paragraph R205(a) and coded as follows:

Field Selection or Input
Case Type 27
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

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

Spouse or common‑law partner and dependants

See Public policy, competitiveness and economy (C41) for conditions that must be met by the holder of a BOWP for their spouse or common-law partner to also be eligible for an open work permit under subparagraph R205(c)(ii) as a spouse or common-law partner of a skilled worker.

Dependent children of a permanent residence applicant in any of these economic classes are not eligible for an open work permit. Dependent children must obtain an LMIA or have an LMIA exemption based on their specific situation to apply for a work permit.

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