Canada open work permit

Canada Open Work Permit For Destitute International Students

According to Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), international student who cannot financially support themselves could be issued an open work permit. 

These include study permit holders who have become temporarily destitute due to circumstances beyond their control. As well as the control of anyone they rely on for financial support to complete their study term.

This article explains:

Destitute students eligibility 

This program aims to help international students who, due to circumstances beyond their control, may be unable to meet the cost of their studies in Canada, whether for day-to-day needs or tuition.

While academic institutions provide some leeway on obligations such as tuition and residence fees, working may be the only way for students to survive in these circumstances. 

The government recognizes that students can cover expenses by pursuing employment in difficult financial periods. If eligible and proven insufficient funds, it can be on-campus or off-campus employment or co-op. 

Nevertheless, a requirement for study permit holders is to have sufficient resources to pay their tuition and support themselves and any family without working in Canada. As a result, the open work permit would be granted only in exceptional circumstances where international student can provide enough evidence. 


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Evidence of circumstances beyond the applicant’s or their financial sponsor’s control 

With demonstrating temporarily destitute, the study permit holder needs to prove that the loss of financial support was beyond their control. Or outside the control of their financial sponsor. 

Each case is judged by IRCC on its own merit, where certain circumstances would be self-evident, such as cases of war, upheaval, or the collapse of their home country’s banking system.

In contrast, others will require further explanation by the applicant, usually during an interview with an immigration officer.

Moreover, the officer’s discretion will determine the length of each case’s open work permit. However, the work permit duration cannot exceed the end of the current semester or term of study. 

While holding and working with an open work permit, students must continue to meet the conditions of their study permit, which is to remain enrolled in a designated learning institution and actively pursue their studies. 

Evidence that the applicant requires public assistance

Applicants must demonstrate that they are unable to support themselves without public assistance. 

However, it is important to note that this humanitarian policy does not intend for study permit holders to apply for social assistance before being granted a work permit. 

Officers may accept any evidence demonstrating that the individual cannot financially sustain themselves. Evidence to assess the foreign national’s inability to support themselves may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Bank statements 
  • The provincial or territorial social service department letter or cheque stub 
  • Letters from assistance groups and organizations
  • A review of the candidates’ immigration history and application forms, as well as any other supporting documentation

Officers may consider this eligibility criterion met if the applicant is likely to require public assistance.

Family members of study permit holders 

Family members of study permit holders are not eligible for an open work permit under this program. They can, however, apply for a work permit from within Canada with or without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). As well, spouses of study permit holders may be eligible for an open work permit.

Source: IRCC