On December 15, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)
issued an Operational Bulletin outlining how certain foreign
nationals working in Canada who are nearing the end of the
permanent residency process may qualify for a Bridging Open Work
Permit. Pursuant to subsection 205(a) of the Immigration and
Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) this applies to foreign nationals
whose employment will result in significant benefits to Canada.
CIC has recognized that many foreign nationals who have
submitted applications for permanent residents and otherwise meet
the program eligibility requirements, nevertheless faced difficulty
in maintaining their ability to work in Canada because their work
permits expired before a final decision on their applications for
permanent residence were made. This is particularly difficult where
applicants obtained their work permits pursuant to a Labour Market
Opinion (LMO) issued by Human Resources and Skills Development
Canada (HRSDC), which typically requires an employer to conduct
certain mandatory minimum advertising and recruiting efforts.
So as to allow foreign workers to maintain their status and
continue working in Canada while they await the finalization of
their applications under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP),
the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Provincial Nominee Program
(PPNP) or the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), CIC will now
consider the issuance of a Bridging Open Work Permit valid for a
period of one year from the date of issuance in the following
The foreign national is currently in Canada;
He/she has valid status on a work permit that is due to expire
within four (4) months;
He/she has received confirmation from CIC that his/her
permanent resident application is eligible under one of the four
economic classes listed above, namely FSWP, CEC, PNP or the FSTP;
He/she has made an application for an open work permit.
This is an extremely positive development for both foreign
nationals and their employers and helps to ensure Canada's
international competitiveness when it comes to attracting and
retaining the best and the brightest. Not only can employers employ
foreign nationals with the confidence that they will be able to
continue in their roles until they obtain status as permanent
residents, it also increases efficiencies for HRSDC in that it no
longer must consider LMO requests from employers desperately trying
to preserve their employees' ability to work in Canada.
1. The author wishes to thank Nick McAlister, articling
student, for his assistance in preparing this article.
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