Open Work Permit in Canada

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Something that every international student has to think about before they even finish graduating from a Canadian university is the matter of work and career. Once international students finish their program, they can’t just jump into Canada’s workforce without a work permit.

Why You Need a Work Permit

It all comes down to why you want to work in Canada in the first place. The clear answer is that you’ll need a work permit in order to legally work in Canada. Ultimately, working in Canada and gaining Canadian work experience will lead to you getting your PR status. 

Students normally take the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) route to obtain their PR status in Canada. Taking this route requires you to work at least 30 hours per week for a year or 1,560 hours. This totals to about one year of full time work. In order to accomplish this task, you will need a work permit. There are two kinds of work permits that we will discuss in this article.

Closed Work Permit vs Open Work Permit

Both types of work permits help its holders accomplish the same thing. They are there to give potential citizens a chance to gain Canadian work experience and work towards a permanent resident status.

The main difference between them is that closed work permits are employer-specific. This means that you are allowed to work for only one employer, in one position, during the time you are given. You will also need a positive LMIA to apply for a work permit. 

International students don’t typically need to think about CWP’s, but some types of jobs are available only under a CWP (and not under an OWP) such as performance artists, entrepreneurs, or researchers. 

One type of open work permit that is granted only to international students is the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP), from eligible programs and schools. It gives graduates the same advantage of an open work permit holder. 

What is an Open Work Permit?

Like any work permit, it allows holders to work legally in the country. The work permit holders are able to accumulate work experience and also see what it’s like living in Canada. 

Basically, an open work permit (OWP) allows holders to work practically anywhere and in most industries in Canada. Some areas that the OWP doesn’t cover are athletics or religious positions. All in all, it’s not job specific so you will not need to make a Labour Market Impact Assessment or proof of employment and proof of compliance fee. 

However, there are still a couple fees that you’ll need to pay. One is the regular work permit which costs CAD 150 and the “OPEN” work permit holder fee that costs CAD100. They make for a total cost of CAD $255. 

Who can Apply for OWP?

There are multiple ways you can be eligible for an OWP. You:

  • are an international student who graduated from a designated learning institute and are eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program
  • are a student who’s no longer able to meet the costs of your studies (destitute student)
  • have an employer-specific work permit and are being abused or at risk of being abused in relation to your job in Canada
  • applied for permanent residence in Canada
  • are a dependent family member of someone who applied for permanent residence
  • are the spouse or common-law partner of a skilled worker, international student, or an applicant of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program
  • are a temporary resident permit holder
  • are a young worker participating in special programs

The above list is non-exhaustive, but the most notable eligibility requirement is that international students can apply for an OWP. In this case, it’s the PGWP that was mentioned above. 

Learn more: PGWP: An International Student’s Ticket to PR

How to Apply

  1. Prepare your documents
    1. Scan or take pictures of them so you can upload them to the site
  2. Prepare a valid form of payment (debit or credit cards)
  3. Refer to the instruction guide
  4. Fill out all the necessary information in the online tool
    1. A checklist will be available to you
  5. Create an online account
    1. Pay your fees ($255CAD)
    2. Submit the application
    3. Check status to see if it’s been approved or still in process

Sources: Open Work Permit in Canada How to Apply for OWP Work Permit Conditions Who can Apply for OWP?

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