The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship recently announced a temporary policy that would grant a new work permit to former international students. This new policy will specifically benefit certain foreign nationals who hold, or previously held, a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
By way of background, a PGWP is granted to an international student who has completed a qualifying educational program at a designated learning institution. A PGWP is “open” (i.e., not restricted to a specific employer or job), and is intended to allow former international students to gain valuable work experience in Canada. Applicants are normally permitted to obtain only one PGWP in their lifetime.
Many former international students use the PGWP in order to gain the Canadian work experience required to qualify for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class (managed through Express Entry). However, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the ability of many PGWP holders to gain this requisite Canadian work experience. As a result, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will implement a new temporary policy intended to provide former international students with the opportunity to gain the additional Canadian work experience they require in order to qualify for permanent residence.
From January 27, 2021 to July 27, 2021, former international students who currently hold or previously held a PGWP can apply for a new open work permit that will be valid for an additional period of 18 months. In order to be eligible for the new open work permit, an applicant must:
- Have a PGWP that: (1) expired on or after January 30, 2020, or (2) expires in four months or less from the date they apply;
- Still be in Canada; and
- Have valid temporary resident status, or be applying (and eligible) to restore their status.
IRCC will release details on the application process on January 27, 2021.