A question that I continue to get particularly from B.C. based, provincially nominated, clients requesting assistance on extending a work permit is how to choose between selecting an open bridging work permit or a province supported closed work permit based on a work permit support letter. Authority for the province supporting a foreign worker is provided by R.204(c) of the Immigration and Refugees Protection Regulations.
IRCC’s Coming to Canada survey does not always make it clear when you are selecting that you want to apply for work permit extensions but here are at least five factors you should take into consideration before selecting on a strategy:
- Timing – when is IRCC going to receive your PR Application/are there any complications with your PR Application; When does your nomination expire?
- Paper vs. Online – this is a very important choice that can carry pros and cons on both sides;
- Category of Application – Are you applying as an international post-graduate? Skilled worker? Entrepreneur? – what are your commits to your employer under each and how much flexibility are you provided?
- Stability of your current job – Are there reasons to believe that your PNP nomination may be at risk (i.e. company having financial difficulties, discussions of downsizing, etc.). Would you possibly need to “jump ship” in order to maintain your status in Canada in such a circumstance.
- Is there the existence of an Express Entry PNP option – if so you may be able to fast-tracked your usual paper-based process and could be aided by having an employer-specific work permit.
I have seen several cases where individuals who would have been better off one over the other. I have seen more than a few individuals lose status because of the extension process.
This is certainly an issue I would seek legal advice on and early – to prepare a strategy earlier rather than later.