How to apply for the new open work permit in Canada

Apply for a work permit in Canada
Montreal artist Niti Marcelle Mueth poses in front of her work on a 100-meter-long Black Lives Matter mural. Source: Eric Thomas/AFP

International students can now apply for a work permit in Canada as a bridge to permanent residency (PR). Deemed Canada’s new TR to PR open work permit, this latest support measure from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offers temporary residents on study or work permits a smoother route to gain PR through one of six pathways.

So far, two of these pathways have filled their quotas: the international graduates programme (which received 40,000 applications) and the essential, non-healthcare workers stream (30,000 applications).

Individuals whose status is set to expire can extend their work permit under existing programmes or receive a new permit under one of the temporary measures put in place during the pandemic, such as the public policy for post-graduation work permit holders.

If you currently work in Canada under a temporary visa, you are eligible for the open work permit while your permanent residency application is processed. Here’s how to apply for a work permit in Canada through this new pathway:

Apply for a work permit in Canada

Apply for a work permit in Canada through what’s deemed as Canada’s new TR to PR open work permit, the latest support measure from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that offers temporary residents on study or work permits a smoother route to gain PR through one of six pathways. Source: Gints Ivuskans/AFP

When to apply for the open work permit

According to IRCC, you may apply for this permit four months before your current temporary status expires along with your student visa. If you are on maintained status, you can apply any time. Work permits issued under this policy will be valid until Dec. 31, 2022 — which leaves you with over a year to secure PR status.

What you need to apply

Candidates may apply for the open work permit online or by filling out the paper form. CIC News has highlighted six steps to help move the process along, and it begins with reviewing the official instruction guide.

Besides a computer, you will need these: a scanner, a camera, and the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. Get your debit or credit card handy for payment, too.

How much does it cost to apply for a work permit in Canada?

To apply for the open work permit, you must fork out an extension fee of 155 Canadian dollars. You should make this payment on the official website before applying online.

How to apply for the open work permit

First, you need to set up an account with IRCC, which you will use to submit application forms and keep track of your status. Next, follow this path: Start your application > Apply to come to Canada > I do not have a personal reference code > Visitor visa, study and/or work permit > Work.

You will then answer some questions and obtain a list of documents to submit for your application. For now, international students should answer “worker” when asked “What is your current immigration status in Canada?” as IRCC has yet to update the system. Then, select “I am applying for an open work permit under an active public policy or pilot program announced by IRCC.”

When asked “There are fees associated with this application. Will you be paying your fees or are you fee exempt?” — answer no. Although you have paid the CA$155 fee, you actually do not need to pay the open work permit holder fee referenced in this question.

Now comes the time to fill out your documents, including the IMM 5710 form or “Application to Change Conditions or Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker.” Your “Duration of expected employment” should not extend beyond Dec. 21, 2022, which is when your open work permit will expire. Check if you need a medical exam or other certificates to furnish your application.