There are growing calls for Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to grant extensions of post-graduate work permits (PGWPs) to international graduates. Students say they are struggling to find employment in their field due to the COVID-19 economic slowdown.
Canada attracts international students with world-class educational institutions and the ability to work in Canada under an open PGWP. The work experience gained during the PGWP can be used to apply for Canadian permanent residence under a provincial immigration program. Another option is to apply under the Canadian Experience Class program or Federal Skilled Worker program that are both managed by Canada’s Express Entry system.
Petition to grant extensions for PGWP
A petition has been circulating online that seeks to grant extensions of PGWPs to international graduates. The reason for the extension is to allow graduates more time to secure skilled employment in their field of study to help them secure Canadian permanent residence.
As per the petition, the reasons why extensions of work permits should be accommodated:
- International students contribute an estimated $21.6 billion annually to the Canadian economy and have created 170,000 jobs.
- International students bring unique and important skills to the Canadian labour market.
- Many students decided to study in Canada in part because of the PGWP and the ability to immigrate here permanently after obtaining Canadian work experience.
- The economic slowdown, combined with the limited time of the permit, is creating unnecessary stress on international graduates to accumulate the required work experience to stay here permanently.
- The government of Canada’s COVID-19 response has not considered the impact on international students’ long-term planning and investment, or the negative impact on the Canadian economy if graduates are not given the opportunity to participate in the Canadian workforce.
- When Canada needed international students to fill front line shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic, students were there for Canada.
COVID-19 Economic Slowdown
Almost every economy in the world is facing an economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Canada is not immune. Unemployment in Canada has jumped from 5.5% earlier this year to 13.7%.
There are signs that Canada’s economy is beginning to claw back the economic losses caused by COVID-19, but it will take a long time to see a full recovery. This is time that many international graduates and students don’t have given the strict timelines imposed by the PGWP.
If you are a Canadian resident or citizen, you can sign the petition to grant extensions to PGWPs here.