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Australia Bridging Visa Program Adopted by Canada

To millions of immigrants who have been granted visas to the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Europe, being deported for having overstayed lawful status is one of the greatest fears.

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Australia Bridging Visa Program Adopted by Canada
Written by Crispin Aranda.
Posted on December 27, 2012

Bridging Visas Allow Legal Stay; Change Status in Australia and now, in Canada.

To millions of immigrants who have been granted visas to the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Europe, being deported for having overstayed lawful status is one of the greatest fears.

The United States, New Zealand and the UK, have existing regulations allowing a visa holder to extend the period to stay legally provided an application to extend the initial authorized period has not expired. In Australia, unless the visitor visa issued has a Condition 8503 annotation, an extension of stay is also possible. 

Since tourists or visitors are expected to return to their country of origin after the temporary stay (6 months in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and 9 months in New Zealand) an application to extend a stay as a tourist almost always never comes up because the visa holder must resume work (if employed) or business, or rejoin his or her family.

The US allows for a change of nonimmigrant status from tourist to other temporary or nonimmigrant classes (for example, tourist to working, or tourist to student, or tourist to permanent resident). Australia does not, especially with an 8503 condition on the visa. New Zealand does. The UK does not. The UKBA regulations says that “when your permission to stay as a visitor expires, we expect you to return home. You cannot 'switch' into a different immigration category.”

Until December 20, 2011, Canada does not allow temporary workers to remain in Canada if the working visa period has expired – even if a permanent resident application is being processed. Australia allows a temporary worker to apply for a bridging visa, a temporary short term stay that would enable the applicant to stay legally in Australia while a new application is being processed.

Canada has announced a similar program called the “Bridging Open Work Permit.” Canadian Immigration and Multicultural Minister Jason Kenney announced before Christmas of 2012 that, “the bridging work permit is available immediately and is valid for one year from the date of issuance. Qualifying foreign nationals who have submitted an application for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) may be considered for an open work permit. 

They must already be in Canada on a valid work permit that is about to expire and must have received confirmation from CIC that their permanent resident application is eligible.” 

Please see below for the official update from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (being provided as a public service and part of our immigrant advocacy goals).


Operational Bulletin 485 - December 15, 2012

Bridging Open Work Permits for Certain Federal Economic Class Applicants


Effective December 15, 2012,qualifying foreign nationals currently in Canada who have submitted an application for permanent residence (PR) under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) and who meet program eligibility requirements, may be considered for a bridging open Work Permit (WP) if their current WP will soon expire.


Foreign nationals, in Canada, who have been approved under one of these Economic Class programs and whose temporary resident WPs are due to expire, require facilitation that enables them to maintain their status and allows them to continue working in Canada while they await final decisions on their PR applications. Furthermore, efficiencies are gained by avoiding unnecessary requests to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) for subsequent labour market opinions (LMOs).


Qualifying foreign nationals who have submitted an application for PR and are awaiting a final decision may find themselves in situations where the validity of their current temporary WP is set to expire.

The applicant is then required to persuade his/her current employer to reapply for another LMO through HRSDC, or find a new employer altogether who is willing to hire him/her and go through the application process in obtaining an LMO. As an alternative, the applicant could apply to remain in Canada and extend their status as a visitor but then they would be unauthorized to work. Otherwise, they must leave Canada as they no longer have status.

Conversely, applicants who apply under in-Canada PR classes (Live-in Caregiver class, Spouses or Common-law Partners in Canada class, Protected Persons, etc.) become eligible for open WPs once their application has been “approved in principle”, or upon submission of their application. Furthermore, they do not require an LMO or job offer from an employer in support of the open WP.

An open WP, which allows a foreign national to work for any employer in Canada, will provide these applicants with better flexibility to integrate and navigate the Canadian labour market given that they have already been found eligible for PR in an economic program and may even be currently working in the Canadian labour market.

Bridging Open WP – Eligibility Parameters

To be eligible for a bridging open WP, the following parameters must be met:

  • The foreign national is currently in Canada;
  • They have valid status on a WP that is due to expire within 4 months;
  • They have received a positive eligibility decision on their PR application under one of the Economic Class programs above; and
  • They have made application for an open WP.

Determining if a Positive Eligibility Decision has been made

For the purposes of determining if a positive eligibility assessment has been made, the processor will review if the Eligibility Assessment value is set to “Passed” in GCMS. If this decision has not been entered yet, for the purposes of this Operational Bulletin (OB), a “positive eligibility decision” will also be considered made when it is confirmed in GCMS that:

FSWP: the “Ministerial Instructions” status has been set to “Met” or a positive Final Determination of Eligibility letter/ e-mail has been sent.

PNP: the “Eligibility EC-QC/PNP” status has been set to “Passed” or the Acknowledgment of Receipt letter/e-mail has been sent by the Centralized Intake Office (CIO).

CEC: the “Eligibility CEC” decision has been set to “Passed” or the Acknowledgement of Receipt letter/e-mail has been sent from CIO.

FSTP: the Acknowledgement of Receipt letter/e-mail has been sent from CIO.

Bridging Open WP Issuance

Applicants must submit an Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker [IMM 5710], indicating that they are applying for an Open Work Permit.

Where medical, criminal, or security concerns are evident, or where it is clear that complex or contentious issues exist on the application for PR, the open WP application should be referred to a local office for additional review. Once satisfied that any complex/contentious issues have been resolved, the local office can issue the open WP following these same instructions.

The open WP is to be valid for the duration of one year from the date of issuance. Although the PR application should normally be finalized within a year, subsequent requests from applicants to extend their stay on an open WP will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Upon receipt of the application, the processing office will confirm that:

  • The PR applications under one of the classes (CECPNPFSWP) 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.

The open WP will be issued under authority of R205(a) and will be coded as follows:

Validation Exemption Code: C-10;
NOC: 9999000
Intended Occupation: Open 
Case Type: 27 – Under examination

If a medical examination has not been previously conducted in relation to their current status in Canada, or in relation to the application for permanent residence, or its result has expired, the office must impose the following conditions:

  • Not authorized to work in childcare, primary/secondary school teachings, health service field occupations;
  • Not authorized to work in agricultural occupations.

In all cases, the officer must input visible remarks on the WP, “APR Pending”. This remark, in addition to the Case Type code will ensure eligibility for continued health care coverage by the province or territory.

Employment Location


When issuing a bridging open WP to an applicant for permanent residence under the PNP, the Employment Location on the WPmust be restricted to the nominating province. Therefore, the Province of Destination must be selected and then the City of Destination value should be selected to show the province/territory NES. For example:

Province of Destination: AB
City of Destination: Alberta NES


For a bridging open WP issued to FSWPFSTP or CEC, there are no restrictions to Employment Location and therefore the Province of Destination value must be set to UNK first, and then the City of Destination value of Unknown can be selected as follows:

Province of Destination: UNK
City of Destination: Unknown

Transition Period

There is no transition period for this OB. For unprocessed WP applications that were received prior to the publication date of this bulletin, normal processing and entitlements will apply and the client is to be issued the document in accordance with the service they have requested. In other words, the applicant should not be issued a bridging open WP when they have not specifically requested one.

Additionally, WP applications received after the effective date that make no mention of requesting an “open” WP should be processed based on the services being requested. For example, if the applicant has submitted a WP application with an LMO, the processing office is to issue the WP, restricted to the employer outlined on the LMO, assuming normal entitlements.


About the Author

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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