Canada announced a new policy that will give international students affected by COVID-19 another chance to gain work experience.
International students who have not been able to meet the Canadian work experience requirements of their PGWP will be able to apply for a new one.
A new policy was introduced today, January 8, 2021, by the Government of Canada that will allow international students with an expired or expiring Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) to apply for a new open work permit.
The new permits will be valid for 18 months and will enable former international students to stay in Canada and continue to look for work.
To apply for an Open Work Permit under the new policy, the following criteria must be met:
• you 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 of application;
• you need to be in Canada;
• You need to have a valid temporary status or be applying to restore your status.
The application process will be open from January 27 to July 27, 2021.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has estimated that 52,000 graduates with expired or expiring PGWPs could benefit from this public policy.
About half of 61,000 PGWP holders whose work permits had an expiry date between January and December 2020 have already become permanent residents or have an application for permanent residence in process, according to IRCC data.
The Government of Canada offers the PGWP Program as part of its efforts to attract international students and retain them as skilled workers. PGWP holders can use all their years of Canadian experience toward an application for immigration.
The PGWP is highly coveted among international students since surveys suggest some 60 per cent want to transition to Canadian permanent residence.
Canada recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has put students graduating in 2019 and 2020 at a disadvantage due to the weakened labour market. A significant number of international graduates have been laid off. As a result, it has become difficult for them to meet the Canadian work experience requirement of the PGWP.
International students contribute to the local economy as they study in Canada, and provide a large pool of highly educated people who can become permanent residents and contribute to the workforce.
Almost one-third of international students who got Canadian bachelor’s degrees and almost half of international students who graduated with master’s degrees became permanent residents in the 10 years after they got their first study permit.