Open work permit Canada: Requirements, fees, and processing time

Canada is a fascinating place to live. Its vast, breathtaking landscape attracts many daring travelers, but it also has a lot to offer those looking for open work permit Canada.

Other advantages of living in Canada include its multicultural, welcoming society, high standard of living, and low crime rate. Because of cultural similarities, UK ex-pats find it relatively easy to adjust to life in Canada. English is one of the two most widely spoken languages.

This guide is intended for ex-pats who want to relocate and work in Canada, with a focus on the open work permit. We’ll explain what it is and walk you through the requirements, application process, fees to expect, and how to extend your permit. This should give you a good idea of whether this permit is right for you and how to apply for it.

We’ll also include a helpful tip for managing your finances with Wise’s multi-currency account in preparation for your big move. You’ll see how this could significantly reduce the costs of relocation.

In Canada, what types of work permits are available?

To work in Canada, you must first obtain a work permit. There are two kinds of work permits: open work permits and employer-specific work permits.

The employer-specific work permit allows the holder to work for the employer listed on the permit for a specified period of time. The employer will typically be required to have completed certain steps to assist the application, as well as provide a copy of the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and a confirmed job offer.

The open work permit, on the other hand, is not job-specific, so if you have one, you can work for any compliant employer.

What about the limitations on these work permits? For example, you might wonder if you can travel outside of Canada while holding an open work permit. Can I study in Canada if I have an open work permit in Canada?

With a work permit, you can travel outside of Canada as long as you have your travel documentation, such as a Canadian temporary resident visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Unfortunately, you cannot study if you have an open work permit3. However, there are options for both work and study. International students with a study permit, for example, are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week while studying and 40 hours (full time) during summer or other regular breaks3.

You should be aware that you must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for an open work permit.

Requirements for obtaining an open work permit in Canada

The open work permit eligibility criteria are quite stringent. You must be one of the following:

  • As an international graduate of a designated learning institution, you can apply for a post-graduate work permit in Canada.
  • A Canadian citizen seeking permanent residency
  • A dependent family member of a Canadian permanent resident applicant
  • A skilled worker’s or international student’s spouse or common-law partner
  • A spouse or common-law partner of an Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program applicant
  • A holder of a temporary resident permit
  • A young worker who takes part in special programs
  • A refugee, refugee claimant, protected person, or a family member of a refugee A student who is unable to cover the remaining costs of your studies
  • You have an employer-specific work permit, but you are being abused or are at risk of being abused because of your job in Canada.
  • As a result of an unenforceable removal order.

Be aware that there are additional conditions in addition to the ones listed. To see if you’re eligible, take a quick survey on the Government of Canada’s website.

Obtaining a Canadian open work permit

If you’re ready to start applying, you can usually do so online6, as you can with all Canadian work permits. And, that’s the same whether you’re applying from outside or inside Canada. This means you save money on courier fees for paper applications and can quickly make changes to or receive updates on your application online.

However, providing your biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) is now a standard part of the application process, and you may need to schedule an appointment to complete this step.

How to Obtain an Open Work Permit Outside of Canada

The best way to start is to prepare your supporting documents first (see our handy documents checklist below).

Next, create an IRCC secure account and sign in to it to begin an application8. Then you can fill out your forms with the help of the instruction guide.

Documents checklist

When you’re finished, you can pay your fees (listed in the table below) and submit your application (along with your forms and supporting documents) through your account8. Then, if biometrics are required, make arrangements to provide them.

Your identity proof

  • A current passport or travel document that allows you to return to the country or territory that issued it.
  • Two photographs that meet the Visa application photograph specifications of yourself and any accompanying family members.

Your relationship proof

  • A marriage certificate, as well as birth certificates for any accompanying family members, are required.
  • You must complete the Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union if you are in a common-law relationship and your common-law partner is accompanying you to Canada (IMM 5409). Also, send the proof listed on the form to back up your relationship.

What is your immigration status?

  • If you are not a citizen of the country or territory from which you are applying, you must provide evidence of your current immigration status in that country or territory.
  • You must obtain a re-entry permit from the government that issued your passport or travel document before applying for a work permit.

Application fees

  • For your open work permit application, you should expect to pay two sets of fees. This includes the work permit processing fee as well as the open work permit holder fee. Both are usually due at the same time.
  • There may be biometrics fees to pay depending on whether you are required to supply them.

Time required for application processing

Processing times vary depending on your application and where you apply from – the most recent information can be found here.

At the time of writing, applications from the United Kingdom take approximately 4 weeks and applications from within Canada take approximately 59 days12. If you need to provide biometrics, this may also lengthen the processing time because this may need to be done in person. Make sure to account for these.

We hope that this guide has provided you with the necessary information about the open work permit in Canada. If you meet the specific eligibility criteria, the process of obtaining your permit should be relatively simple. Also, learn about proof of funds Canada.

Make sure you have all of your documents and funds ready for a smooth application process and find out if you need to arrange for biometrics. Remember that you can renew your permit if you want to continue living and working in Canada after it expires.