Immigration Canada has announced new policy to help former international students continue working in Canada. The pandemic has presented myriad challenges for international students. Most notably, for many holders of a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), the pandemic’s disruption and uncertainty have jeopardized their chances of obtaining the work experience they need to apply for permanent residence.
As part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to support international students through this challenging time, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced on January 8, 2020 that former international students who hold or held a PGWP will have the opportunity to apply for an open work permit.
Foreign nationals in Canada affected by the pandemic with an expired or expiring PGWP will have a unique chance to apply for another open work permit. These will be valid for 18 months and allow former international students to remain in Canada, continue to seek employment and build their future in this country.
To apply for an open work permit under the public policy, an applicant must:
- have a PGWP that expired on or after January 30, 2020, or a PGWP that expires in 4 months or less from the date they apply;
- still be in Canada
- have a valid temporary status, or be applying to restore their status.
Please note that applications will be open from January 27 to July 27, 2021. Details on how to apply will be published on January 27, 2021.
The government has made significant efforts to encourage international students to settle permanently in Canada, as they help create jobs and fill labour shortages. They bring strong employment and language skills, bolstered by their Canadian education and work experience, so they are typically well positioned to apply for permanent resident status. More than 58,000 graduates successfully applied to immigrate permanently in 2019.
Immigration Canada estimates that as many as 52,000 graduates with expired or expiring PGWPs could benefit from the public policy. Of nearly 61,000 PGWP holders whose work permit had an expiry date between January and December 2020, about half either have already become permanent residents or have a permanent residence application in processing.
For more information about the open work permit program, please contact our office.