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As Canada recovers from the economic impacts of the pandemic, employers are facing unprecedented challenges in finding and retaining the workers they need. In response, the Canadian government has announced an extension of post-graduation work permits (PGWPs) for up to 18 months for international graduates with expired or expiring permits. This move will allow Canada to retain high-skilled talent, address labor shortages, and provide international graduates with additional time to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

The new policy is a response to the ongoing labor shortage in Canada, which is being exacerbated by the pandemic. The shortage is particularly acute in industries such as healthcare, technology, and agriculture, where highly skilled workers are in short supply. With the new policy, the Canadian government hopes to make it easier for employers to retain the talent they need and provide international graduates with more opportunities to gain work experience in Canada.

The Benefits of Retaining High-Skilled Talent

International graduates play a vital role in addressing Canada’s labor shortage, and those nearing the end of their PGWPs are already well integrated into Canada’s labor market. By extending their permits, Canada can retain highly skilled individuals who can contribute to the country’s economic growth and development. The additional work experience gained during the extended period can also help international graduates prepare for the opportunity to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

The New Policy: What You Need to Know

Starting April 6, 2023, international graduates with an expired or expiring PGWP will qualify for an additional or extended work permit to stay in Canada for up to 18 months. Those with expired work permits will be able to restore their status, even if they are beyond the 90-day restoration period, and will receive an interim work authorization while awaiting processing of their new work permit application.

PGWP holders who are eligible for the facilitative process will soon receive messages about logging into their online IRCC Secure Account to opt-in and update key personal information. IRCC is aware of the issues some PGWP holders experienced with the facilitative process used in 2022, and lessons learned from that process have been applied as Canada implements a similar one. The new public policy will allow anyone who was eligible under the 2022 initiative to apply for an open work permit and to restore their status.

International graduates are an important source of future permanent residents in Canada, with tens of thousands successfully transitioning to permanent residence each year. In 2021, more than 157,000 international graduates became permanent residents in Canada, a record high. Nearly 95,000 followed suit in 2022, the second-highest total ever.

Conclusion

Canada’s decision to extend post-graduation work permits for up to 18 months for international graduates with expired or expiring permits is a welcome development for employers and highly skilled individuals alike. The new policy will provide employers with additional time to retain the talent they need and allow international graduates to gain valuable work experience in Canada. With the extension of their permits, highly skilled foreign nationals will be better equipped to contribute to Canada’s economic growth and development, as well as prepare for the opportunity to apply for permanent residence in Canada. Overall, this policy is a win-win for everyone involved and represents a positive step forward for Canada’s economy and society.

To be eligible for a PGWP, you must have completed a full-time program of study at a Canadian designated learning institution (DLI). The program must have been at least 8 months in duration and you must have graduated from a public or private post-secondary institution, a private institution authorized by provincial or territorial statute to confer degrees, or a Canadian private institution that can legally award degrees under provincial law.

Normally, a PGWP is not extendable. However, there have been special public policies in place that allowed international graduates with expiring PGWPs to apply for an additional work permit.

The new policy comes into effect on April 6, 2023.

Yes, PGWP holders with expired status will be able to restore their status and apply for an extended or additional work permit. They will also receive an interim work authorization while awaiting processing of their new work permit application.

International graduates are an important source of future permanent residents and play a vital role in addressing Canada’s labour shortage. Tens of thousands of international graduates successfully transition to permanent residence each year, and the new policy will allow eligible applicants to continue contributing to the Canadian economy while gaining valuable work experience.