Former international students will now be able to apply for new open work permits if their Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) expires, according to a new announcement from the Canadian Government. In recognition of the fact that the pandemic has prevented many foreign nationals from meeting the PGWP requirements, a new policy was introduced on 8th Jan 2021, allowing former international students with expired or expiring PGWP, to apply for another open work permit.
This policy will assist PGWP holders in gaining the work experience required to apply for Canadian Immigration, by extending time to PGWP holders who either lost their jobs during COVID-19 or had their hours cut. It has been found that international students who have Canadian work experience and education are able to integrate with the Canadian Market rather quickly, after gaining residency.
According to the policy, these new open work permits will be valid for a period of 18 months. During this time, the former international students will be able to continue their stay in Canada and explore more work opportunities. Those who have closed work permits are restricted to work in a specific company in the country, but with open work permits, they can work under any company of their choice.
Eligibility Criteria for Canadian Open Work Permit
To apply for the new Canadian Open Work Permit under the new policy, the former international students must meet certain eligibility criteria.
- They should either be holding a PGWP that expired on or after 30th Jan 2020, or a PGWP that expires in 4 months or less from the date of application.
- They should be in Canada
- They should possess a valid temporary status or should have applied for the restoration of their status.
It has been announced that the application process will be open between 27th January 2021 and 27th July 2021.
Data from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) estimates that around 52,000 graduates with expired or expiring PGWPs are expected to benefit from the new policy. It shows that nearly half of the 61,000 PGWP holders with an expiration date between January and December 2020, were either able to become permanent residents or have applied for permanent residency.
The PGWP is a strategy by the Canadian Government to attract more international students to the country, hoping they will stay on as skilled workers to meet the demands of the market. Under this permit, international students can work in Canada and gain experience for up to 3 years after their course ends. This helps them to apply for Canadian Immigration.
Students who wish to become Canadian citizens use the PGWP as a pathway to their dreams and apply for skilled worker immigration in the country. This pathway also allows them to gain the necessary work experience, after which they can submit a skilled worker application to the Quebec Experience Programme, Express Entry, and the Provincial Nominee Programme among others. These programs require them to have Canadian Work Experience.
Realizing the effects of COVID-19 on the labor markets and especially the graduating student students 2019 and 2020, the Canadian Government has put in place this new policy that will help those who either have not been able to find a job or lost their jobs during the pandemic. This led to their inability to meet the required work experience criteria of the PGWP.
The IRCC further stated that the new policy will go a long way toward meeting the skilled worker demand of the tech and healthcare industries, among others. More international skilled workers to the country are needed to boost the Canadian economy, and this is now a priority for the government.