The following is an e-mail exchange between an immigration representative and Citizenship and Immigration Canada regarding Bridging Open Work Permits.  One of the best things that Jason Kenney did as immigration minister was to allow individuals to apply for open work permits if their permanent residence applications had reached certain stages in processing.  (A detailed blog post of mine on Bridging Open Work Permits can be found here.)  As with any new program, questions emerged regarding specific requirements of the Bridging Open Work Permit, including whether there are exceptions to the 4 month time-frame.

Please note that what I have reproduced below should not be viewed as legal advice.  The reproduction of question and answer has not occurred with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, nor with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.

Question – May 27, 2013

Dear Sir / Madam,

I would like to enquire about the time of an application for an open Bridging Work Permit.  In Operational Bulletin 485, dated December 15, 2012, it is noted that the processing office will confirm upon receipt of an application that:

  • The PR applications under one of the classes (CEC, PNP, FSWP) has been found eligible;
  • the applicant is currently in Canada; and
  • it is confirmed that the applicant currently holds a valid WP that will expire within the next 4 months and there are no other issues of concern.

For an applicant who has been found eligible for Permanent Residence as FSWP, whose Work Permit does not expire until ___ but has recently been laid off, is there an exception to the 4 month timeframe which would allow them to file an Open Bridging Work Permit application now in 2013, perhaps under Humanitarian & Compassionate considerations set out in section 25 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act? Or will the applications only be accepted if a Work Permit is set to expire in 4 months, without exception?

Thank you in advance for your response to this question. 

Regards, 

Answer – May 29, 2013

Thank you for four inquiry.

As specified in Operational Bulletin 485, to be eligible for a bridging open work permit, the foreign naitonal must have valid status on a work permit that is due to expire within 4 months. There are no exceptions to this requirement. 

In the situation you’ve outlined below, the foreign national would presumably seek out a new employer and apply for a new work permit before the expiry of their current employer-specific work permit in 2015. 

It is not clear why the representative thought that H&C considerations could be used to overcome the 4 month requirement.  As I blogged about here, recent changes to Canadian immigration law mean that humanitarian & compassionate considerations may only be considered in permanent resident applications.