Yes, you read it right. Canada has just announced that Startup Visa Founders can now apply for an Open Work Permit.
How this differs from precious Work Permit?
Under the SUV program, you would apply for a closed Work Permit which is bounded to your startup and startup location. Also, this Work permit is valid for 1 year from date of entry. After the 1st year, you will have to apply for an extension, which will also be for a year. That essentially means you have to get 1–2 extensions before your PR application is processed. The other condition to the SUV Work Permit was that only essential Founders could apply for a Work Permit. That meant you had to prove in your Work Permit application that you are essential to the operations of the business. And if you can’t prove that, your Work permit application could be rejected.
Under the old process, getting multiple extensions before PR was just a cause of stress for Startup Founders. Something that I could definitely live without.
What we know about the New SUV Open Work Permit
So the new policy of Open Work permit was announced by the immigration minister in July 2023. Under the new policy, SUV founders can apply for a 3-year Open Work Permit. This solves the biggest problem of applying for extensions every year. With the 3-year Open Work permit, you will not have to worry about expiration of your Work permit. 3 years is enough time for your PR to arrive, so you go from Work Permit straight to PR.
Secondly, the Open Work permit is not tied to your Startup, this means you should be able to explore other earning opportunities. Now, I am sure, this will come with certain conditions, but we will only know once the complete policy and process has been announced.
When can I apply for SUV Open Work Permit?
Since this was announced just a few weeks ago, and currently we are still in Summer season here in Canada. From what I understand, July / August, almost everyone is on a holiday. So no real information is expected from the IRCC in these months. I would expect everything to become more clear with procedures and policies by November or December 2023.
Can existing Work Permit Holders apply for Open Work Permit?
The definitive answer to this will be reveled when IRCC announces full policy and procedures. But I do expect that current Work permit holders will be able to apply for Open Work Permit when they come up for an extension. Personally, for me I still have a few months left on my Work Permit and hopefully will be applying for an Open Work Permit sometime next year. By that time, I definitely expect all the procedures to be announced.