Express Entry is considered Canada’s fastest and easiest pathway to permanent residence. While Canada paused FHS draws during the pandemic, PGWP holders who were unable to benefit from the public policy were left in limbo as their permit reaches its expiry.
Some international graduates that may have normally been invited in an Express Entry draw were forced to leave Canada as their status expired before they could apply for permanent residency.
During the pandemic, IRCC announced a public policy that allowed Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) holders to apply for a permit extension of up to 18 months. The policy was issued in response to the effects of COVID-19 on the Canadian labour market, as many PGWP holders lost their jobs or saw reduced hours. This policy was in force from January 27, 2021, to July 27, 2021.
The temporary public policy also allowed former PGWP holders who had lost status and were still in Canada on valid temporary status, or had applied for, or were eligible to restore their status, to apply for an extension.
Minister Fraser announced on April 22, 2022, that the Canadian government will re-introduce this public policy starting summer of 2022.
The extension had previously been introduced for international students in Canada who hold a PGWP expiring between January and December 2022. According to a recent Twitter update from Minister Sean Fraser Canada is now extending PGWPs for international graduates whose permits expired or will expire between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2022. Eligible international graduates will qualify for another 18-month open work permit.
Additional information on how to apply for the special extension will be posted on the IRCC website in the coming weeks.
Tens of thousands of former international students will receive an additional open work permit of 18 months, giving them an opportunity to stay in Canada longer, and helping businesses find the workers they need while allowing us to continue to attract global talent.
— Sean Fraser (@SeanFraserMP) June 24, 2022
Canada has repeatedly made significant efforts to retain international graduates. International graduates are increasingly viewed as the ideal immigrant in the eyes of the Canadian government. During the pandemic, Canada has continued to accommodate to the needs of international students. This was seen through Canada’s 2021 temporary TR to PR Pathway, which allowed International Graduates who were currently working in Canada to apply for permanent residence.
During a January TV interview, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser reiterated this message, mentioning his mandate to provide immigration pathways for international graduates. In a recent teleconference, Minister Fraser said he was interested in making it easier for international students to consider their studies as a “springboard” to permanent residency. While Fraser has been vocal about his support for international graduates, they are yet to see a program implemented that will spring them toward permanent status.
Canada is facing a significant labour shortage, with one million job vacancies. The Canadian economy relies on international students as a source of labour in its post-pandemic recovery.
Are you currently in Canada on a PGWP? If you are interested in learning more about your immigration options, complete contact us today for more information.
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