Work permits for foreign nationals who have experienced labor abuse in Canada

Foreign nationals living and working in Canada who are or are at risk of being abused, mistreated and exploited are fully eligible to apply for an Open Work Permit (OPW).

What is labor abuse?

Labor abuse is behavior that causes fear, control, or isolation to workers, impacting them financially, physically or mentally.

Specific examples:

  • Physical harm.
  • Forced to work in a place/in a way that is unsafe or dangerous to health.
  • The workplace provided by the employer is unsafe or unsanitary.
  • Physical or verbal sexual harassment.
  • Travel control.
  • Theft.
  • Forbidden from seeing friends or colleagues.
  • Hold/Appropriate salary.
  • Threats, insults.
  • Forced to cheat.

Work permits open to abusers

In cases of abuse that follow one of the examples above, you can apply for an Open Work Permit, which allows you to work with any eligible business.
An open work permit is a way to protect the interests of workers, to help them escape abuse or mistreatment and have time to find a new job. However, this is only a temporary option because this open license has a term and cannot be granted a second time.
Workers need to find a job and apply for a new work permit before the Open Work Permit expires.

Conditions for applying for an open work permit

An employee can apply for an Open work permit if:

  • Be in Canada (applications submitted at the port of entry will not be accepted).
  • Have a valid work permit for a particular business.
  • Are being abused or at risk of labor abuse in Canada.
Accompanying relatives can apply for an Open Work Permit if the main applicant’s application is approved.

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