Canada Open Work Permit: Eligibility and Application Process July 2024

Thinking about working in Canada? An open work permit might be the perfect option for you! This special authorization allows you to work for any employer in Canada, giving you the freedom to choose the job that best suits your skills and interests. This guide will explain everything you need to know about open work permits in Canada, including how they differ from other work permits, who can qualify, and the application process.

Understanding Work Permits in Canada

There are two main types of work permits in Canada:

  • Employer-Specific Work Permit: This permit is tied to a specific job offer from a Canadian employer. They will help you with the application process, but you can only work for them and must leave Canada when the permit expires.
  • Open Work Permit: This permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada. It offers more flexibility and lets you explore different job opportunities. In some cases, you may also be able to bring your family with you.

Open Work Permit vs. Employer-Specific Work Permit: A Quick Comparison

Here’s a table summarizing the key differences between the two:

FeatureOpen Work PermitEmployer-Specific Work Permit
Work for any employer?YesNo
Needs LMIA (Labor Market Impact Assessment)?No, unless job is exemptYes
Bring family to Canada?May be possibleNo

Canada Spouse Open Work Permit

A Spouse Open Work Permit is a specific type of open work permit for spouses, common-law partners, or dependent children of someone who has applied to sponsor them for permanent residence in Canada. However, they can only apply if their sponsorship application is already being processed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Requirements for an Open Work Permit

To qualify for an open work permit, you’ll need to meet some basic requirements. These include:

  • Showing you intend to leave Canada when your permit expires.
  • Proving you have enough financial resources to support yourself and your family (if applicable).
  • Passing a medical exam to show you’re in good health and pose no risk to public safety.
  • Having a clean criminal record and no history of violating immigration laws.
  • Not working for an employer who is not authorized to hire temporary workers. This includes employers on a list of ineligible employers provided by IRCC, as well as those who offer certain services like striptease or escort services.

Who Can Apply for an Open Work Permit?

Several categories of individuals may be eligible for an open work permit, including:

  • International graduates who have completed studies at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada and qualify for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
  • International students facing financial hardship and struggling to afford their studies.
  • Dependents of someone who has applied for permanent residence in Canada.
  • Holders of a temporary resident permit in Canada.
  • Individuals who have applied for permanent residence in Canada and are waiting for a decision on their application.
  • Spouses or common-law partners of international students studying in Canada.

Applying for an Open Work Permit from Outside Canada

If you’re applying from outside Canada, the process typically involves these steps:

  1. Create or sign into your IRCC account: This online portal allows you to submit your application and manage the process.
  2. Choose the application type: Select “Work Permit” as the application type.
  3. Fill out the application form: Carefully complete the application form and gather all required documents, such as proof of financial support, your passport, and a medical exam certificate.
  4. Pay the application fee: The current fee for an open work permit is CAD$100.
  5. Submit your application: Once everything is complete, submit your application electronically through your IRCC account.
  6. Wait for a decision: Processing times can vary, but it typically takes around 21 days for applications submitted from India (as of July 2024).
  7. Arrival in Canada: If your application is approved, you’ll receive a letter of introduction. Bring this with your passport and any necessary travel documents to the port of entry when you arrive in Canada. A border officer will verify your documents and may issue your work permit on arrival.

Open Work Permit Processing Time and Fees

The application fee for an open work permit is CAD$100. Processing times can vary depending on your location and current application volume, but it generally takes around 21 days for applications submitted from India.

One of the significant advantages of an open work permit is the possibility of bringing your family to Canada with you. This can be a great opportunity for your spouse or common-law partner to pursue their own work or study opportunities, while your dependent children can attend Canadian schools and experience life in Canada.

Here’s what you need to know about bringing your family:

  • Eligibility: Not everyone with an open work permit can bring their family. The eligibility criteria will depend on the specific program you qualify for under the open work permit category.
  • Application Process: If you’re eligible, you’ll need to include your family members in your open work permit application. This involves providing additional information and documentation for each family member, such as proof of relationship, marriage certificates, or birth certificates.
  • Visa Options: Family members may be eligible for an open work permit themselves (if they qualify under a separate program) or for a closed work permit tied to a specific job offer they secure in Canada. In some cases, they may need a visitor visa or a study permit depending on their plans.

Additional Considerations

  • Healthcare: Open work permits don’t typically come with provincial health insurance coverage. You may need to consider private health insurance for yourself and your family.
  • Job Market: While open work permits offer flexibility, researching the job market in your chosen location is crucial. Ensure your skills and qualifications are in demand to secure employment upon arrival.
  • Cost of Living: Canada has a high cost of living. Factor in living expenses like housing, food, and transportation when planning your move.


An open work permit can be an excellent pathway to working and living in Canada. It offers flexibility, the chance to explore different job opportunities, and potentially the opportunity to bring your family with you. Carefully review the eligibility requirements, application process, and additional considerations to determine if an open work permit is the right choice for you.

Do you need any specific help with the application process for the open work permit?

This guide provides a general overview, but immigration regulations can be complex. If you have specific questions or require assistance with your application, consider consulting with a licensed immigration consultant who can provide tailored advice based on your situation.

Leave a Comment