An Open Work Permit under the International Mobility Program for Canada is a type of work permit that is not tied to a specific job. All other work permits allow the holder to work for one employer, but with the Open Work Permit, you can change employers as long as the permit is valid.

A Temporary Work Permit allows you to work in Canada for 6 months or less. During this time, you can change employers as long as they are approved by the government of Canada and are not involved with the activities by the government.

In contrast, the Open Work Permit does not require you to submit a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) document that your employer would need to provide.

To get an Open Work Permit you have to meet certain requirements. Your open work permit may be completely unrestricted or have some restrictions. In general, there are three types of Open Work Permits:

  • Unrestricted work permits, which enable you to change employers, occupation, and the location of work;
  • Restricted work you to change occupation and employer;

The decision on what type of open work permit to issue you is at the discretion of the officer at the Canadian Consulate depending on the documents that you submit. 

Open Work Permit Requirements 

You can be considered eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit if you are in one of the following groups:

  • A temporary resident permit holder;
  • An international student who has graduated from a Canadian educational institution and can apply for a Postgraduate Work Permit;
  • A student who is unable to cover the cost of their studies;
  • A person who has applied for permanent residence in Canada;
  • A family member of a person who has applied for permanent residence in Canada;
  • A spouse or common-law partner of an international student or skilled worker;
  • A refugee, protected person, refugee claimant, or a family member;
  • A young worker in special programs.

As a temporary worker, you must meet the eligibility requirements of the Temporary Visa in order to apply for the Open Work Permit. In addition, you must also complete the following requirements:

  • You must prove that you will leave Canada after your work permit expires;
  • You must prove that you can support yourself financially and your family stay in Canada and that you have enough funds to go back to your home country;
  • You must have a clean criminal record;
  • You must prove that you do not impose a threat to the national security of Canada;
  • You must be in good health;
  • You must comply with the conditions of your open work permit even if the officer issues a restricted one;
  • You must prove that you are not intending to work for an employer that offers striptease, erotic dance, erotic massage, or escort services.

You can also apply for an extension of the Open Work Permit or for your first Open Work Permit from inside Canada if you meet these requirements:

  • You hold a Canadian study permit or an open work permit that will expire soon;
  • You hold a degree from a Canadian educational institution;
  • You hold a temporary resident status;
  • The IRCC is processing your application for refugee status;
  • You already have refugee or protected person status;
  • Your application to get refugee status was turned down, but you cannot leave Canada for reasons beyond your control.