CAN Pathways

Canada Open Work Permits

Open Work Permits for
Essential Workers and International Graduates

Canada Open Work Permits

Canada has introduced a new open work permit for those in Canada who have applied for IRCC’s Essential Workers and International Graduate permanent residence programs.

Essential workers and international graduates can now submit their applications to IRCC.


As of July 26, 2021, individuals who have applied for permanent residence under Canada’s recently opened pathway for essential workers and international graduates may also apply for a new open work permit.

In May 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) launched a special permanent residence program for some 90,000 essential workers and international graduates.

IRCC recognizes that many of the applicants of these programs may see their temporary status in Canada expire while IRCC processes their permanent residence program. As such, IRCC is providing such affected individuals with the opportunity to apply for an open work permit. Open work permits enable foreign nationals to work for any employer of their choice in Canada.

Background Information

  • An applicant’s spouse or common law partner as well as their dependent children 18 years or over can also be eligible to apply for an open work permit under this policy so long as they also live in Canada.
  • Applications will need to be submitted online.
  • Work permits under this policy will be valid until December 31, 2022.
  • If you have applied to extend your permit permit before your current one has expired, you can maintain your status and have authorization to work without a work permit under the same conditions as your original work permit while the new permit is undergoing processing. 

Eligibility Criteria 

To be eligible for this one-time temporary policy, you need to show IRCC that you:

  • have submitted an immigration application under one of the new streams for essential workers and international graduates
  • have held a valid work permit or were authorized to work without a work permit or under any public policy when you submitted your immigration application
  • hold a valid work permit that will expire within the next 4 months
  • have temporary resident status or maintained status or are eligible to restore your status at the time you submit your open work permit application
  • are in Canada when you submit your open work permit application
  • were employed in any job when you submitted your immigration application
  • meet the language criteria of the immigration stream you applied under

How to Apply

Applications can only be submitted online. It is not possible to apply at a port of entry.

If you are unable to apply online, due to a disability or your Internet connection, IRCC allows you to submit a paper application.

Here are the steps you will need to follow as part of the application process:

Step 1: Make sure you have access to a scanner or camera so you can upload your documents electronically and have a debit or credit card to pay the processing fee.

Step 2
: Pay the $155 processing fee before you begin your online application.

Step 3
: Create your account and sign in to receive a personalized document checklist and instruction guide from IRCC to help you complete the forms.

Step 4: Fill out the required forms.

Step 5: Upload the documents required to complete your application.

Some of the documents you will need include a copy of your fee receipt, proof that you were legally working at the time of your application (for example, a work permit), proof of your language test score, a copy of your passport, a digital photo, and a family information form.

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