Canada’s immigration minister Marco Mendicino has announced a new policy that would allow former international students whose Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) has expired to apply for an open work permit.
Recognizing the difficulties that international students have faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian government is attempting to give them more time to gain the Canadian work experience needed in order to apply for Canadian permanent residency.
This new work permit will be valid for 18 months, allowing former international students to remain in Canada and work towards securing permanent employment which would allow them to settle in the country long-term.
The Canadian government recognizes the important ways in which international students contribute to the fabric of Canadian society. International students contribute more than $21 billion dollars to the economy annually. They also create jobs and fill labour shortages which serves to further support the Canadian economy.
Typically, international students who graduate from a Canadian designated learning institution (DLI) would be well-positioned to find work and apply for permanent residence status. In 2019, 58,000 international students were successful in applying for Canadian permanent residence.
However, the pandemic has upended this plan for many who have been unable to find work during this tumultuous time, creating a lot of uncertainty around their status in the country. This latest policy would give them a second chance to build a life in Canada.
To apply for an open work permit under the new policy, an applicant must:
- Still be in Canada
- Have a valid temporary status, or be applying to restore their status
- Have a PGWP that expired on or after January 30, 2020, or that expires in 4 months or less from the date of application
Applications for the new open work permit will open as of January 27 and remain open until July 27, 2021. Details about the application process will be available on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website.