The Transitional Work Permit

A Transitional Work Permit is a way of keeping a worker in Canada for the duration of the application for permanent residence.

Applicants who have applied for permanent residence within Canada under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FPTP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FPSP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or of one of the Provincial Nominee Program (PCP) may be granted a Transitional Open Work Permit if their current work permit expires. A foreign worker who works legally in Canada who has made or will be making an application for permanent residence under one of these immigration programs may then continue to work until a decision is made on his or her application permanent residence.

This is beneficial to the federal government, the Canadian community, and employers, as well as to applicants and their families, otherwise the claimants and their dependents (spouse and children) would then have to leave Canada temporarily, or stay in Canada with visitor status, or try to find a willing employer to apply for a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) .

A Transitional Open Work Permit allows the holder to work for an employer in Canada and thus provides greater flexibility to navigate and integrate into the Canadian labor market as these individuals are already considered to be eligible for permanent residence and are currently working in Canada.

For Entrants Express Entry applicants, they must obtain an authorization in principle from their application before even applying for this work permit.

Transitional Open Work Permit and Express Entry

When a candidate applying under one of the federal economic immigration programs processed through the Immigration Selection System Enters an electronic application for permanent residence, he receives the initial letter notifying him that it has been received. This does not yet imply that the applicant has received a “positive assessment” as required for an open work permit. This letter is not acceptable for an application for such a work permit.

There will be a second letter sent to the applicant after the application has been reviewed for eligibility verification purposes.  This letter will be acceptable for an open work permit application if all other requirements listed below are met. Applicants must wait to receive this second letter before applying for a Transitional Open Work Permit.

  • He already has a valid work permit that is about to expire within four months;
  • He is the principal applicant for an application for permanent residence under the PFTQ, the PFMS, the CEC or one of the PCPs;

Please note that a foreign national does not qualify for a Transitional Open Work Permit if:

  • He is in Canada under section 186 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (situations of exemption from work permits);
  • He left his status expired;
  • His work permit is valid for more than four years and he has an EIMT that can be used for a new application for a work permit; or
  • He is nominated by a province and has not submitted a copy of the provincial designation certificate with his application for a Transitional Open Work Permit or if the Certificate of Designation indicates certain employment restrictions.

Local employment situation


When issuing a Transitional Open Work Permit to an applicant for permanent residence under a PCP, the geographical location of the employment permit must be limited to the province of designation.


For a transitional work permit issued under the PFTQ, PFMS or CEC, the applicants have no restrictions on the location of the employer.

Spouse or common-law partner and dependents

Certain conditions must be met in order for the spouse of the holder of a temporary work permit to also be entitled to an open work permit:

  • In all cases, the transitional work permit must be valid for more than 6 months.
  • For the spouses of PFTQ applicants, the work permit holder must be employed in a level 0, A or B occupation according to the National Occupational Classification (NOC).
  • For spouses of CFP applicants, the spouse may obtain a work permit for the duration of the principal applicant’s work permit, regardless of the skill level of the principal applicant’s occupation.
  • For spouses of PFMS applicants, the holder of the Transitional Open Work Permit must hold a NOC Level B occupation.
  • For spouses of CEC applicants, there is no special requirement to be met by the principal applicant.

Dependent children of the applicant in one of the economic immigration programs must obtain an EIMT or benefit from an EIMT exemption in order to apply for a work permit.

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