Canadian Immigration News

IRCC Introduces New Open Work Permit Policy for International Students

2.45 minute read
"The government body of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced a new policy to help international students impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The new policy involved allowing international graduates to renew their Post-Graduation Work Permits if they have expired or are about to expire."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  May 4, 2021
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The government body of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced a new policy to help international students impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The new policy involved allowing international graduates to renew their Post-Graduation Work Permits if they have expired or are about to expire. 

IRCC has been accepting applications since January 27, 2021, and will continue to do so till July 27, 2021. The new policy intends to help international graduates gain Canadian work experience that will make them eligible to apply for several federal economic immigration programs under the Express Entry System, and each provinces’ and territories’ individual Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). With the exception of Nunavut and Quebec Immigration.

The Canadian government places a greater emphasis on retaining international students as permanent residents because they can contribute significantly to the economy long-term, and don’t have challenges integrating into Canada’s multicultural society. 

What is a Post-Graduation Work Permit or PGWP?

International students usually apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit after completing their study programs to gain Canadian work experience. 

A PGWP is an open work permit that allows international students to work with any employer in any location in Canada.

Gaining Canadian work experience makes international students eligible to apply for over 80 different permanent residence immigration pathways including the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), etc. 

Due to the lockdowns caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, many international students had to face cuts in their working hours or lose their jobs. 

According to IRCC, up to 52,000 PGWP holders may benefit from this new policy. The new policy will allow them to retain their work permit for up to 18 months. 

Who is Eligible for an Extension of their Post-Graduation Work Permit?

To be eligible for an extension, you must

  • Hold a PGWP that expired after January 30, 2020, or a PGWP set to expire within 4 months of your date of application
  • Be present in Canada on January 27, 2021, and remain in the country
  • Have valid status as a temporary resident or apply to have your status restored if expired
  • Mention in your application that you are applying for this specific new open work permit
  • Have a valid passport that will remain valid for at least 18 months from the date when your application is approved. The open work permit will be valid for the duration of your passport’s validity if your passport is set to expire in less than 18 months 

How Will These Policy Changes Benefit Canada?

The new policy is a result of Canada’s overall effort to keep the immigration levels high after being affected by the pandemic. According to the Canadian Immigration Levels Plan for 2021-2022 (along with updated info on 2023), Canada aims to invite over 400,000 immigrants every year. 

This policy will help Canada to retain its international students for permanent residency, allowing them to meet their immigration levels safely during the pandemic. International students represent a larger pool of talent from all over the world and have the ability to significantly impact Canadian development positively. 

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