Students to Get an Additional Open Work Permit After Graduation

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced a new temporary policy that will allow international students to extend their stay in Canada.

International students who have a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) that expires between January and December 2022, and are physically present in Canada, will be able to apply for an additional open work permit, valid for up to 18 months, starting this summer.

Read More: International Students Getting More PGWP

This announcement relates to an initiative that aims to keep PGWP holders in Canada for longer, allow them to gain work experience, and give them a better chance of obtaining permanent residency. Since Express Entry draws for Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates have been paused since September, a number of PGWP holders whose permits are about to expire are being forced to either apply for a new work permit, quit their jobs, or leave the country.

According to the IRCC, about 95,000 PGWPs will expire this year, 50,000 of which will benefit from this program. Last year, over 157,000 former students have become permanent residents, with more than half of them transitioning directly from a PGWP to permanent residency.

Read More: What Is Canada Doing to Help International Students?

To qualify for the PGWP, you must complete a full-time program of at least eight months at a Designated Learning Institution. Since the validity period of the PGWP matches the study period, it can be valid for a minimum of eight months and a maximum of three years. However, temporary COVID protocols have made students eligible to apply for a PGWP even if 100% of studies were completed online before August 31, 2022.

Express Entry

The government also announced that Express Entry draws for Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) and Federal Skilled Trades (FST) candidates will resume in early July, which should help fill over a million job vacancies in the country. Once draws reopen, the applications are expected to be back to their six-month processing time.

Read More: Unemployment Rate Low, But More Workers Needed

Permanent Residency Applications

People who apply for Open Work Permits while they wait for their PR applications to be processed will be issued permits valid until the end of 2024. Currently, the IRCC aims to ensure all permanent residence applications are approved before applicants have to apply to extend their temporary status again.

Applicants will no longer have to be in Canada while their application is being processed, and the immediate family members included in a permanent residence application who are outside of Canada will be eligible for their own open work permits.