Canada Extends Expired PGWP

The Canadian Government has allowed Post-Graduate Students to extend their work permit in the country for up to 18 Months to retain High-Skilled talent.

More than 286,000 foreign grads with valid post-graduation employment permits were in Canada at the end of 2022 and approximately 127,000 of those will expire in 2023. However, approximately 67,000 PGWP users have already filed for permanent citizenship and will not need to renew their work permit through this program.

The PGWP Extension

International graduates in Canada whose post-graduation work permits have already expired or are soon to expire are allowed to work in the country longer.

On March 17 2023, Sean Fraser, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC), declared that those international graduates who possess an expired or expiring post-graduation work permit (PGWP) now have the opportunity to receive an extended work permit for up to 18 months. This provides them with further work experience in Canada. The PGWP Program provides international graduates with a special open work permit to give them valuable Canadian work experience.

Beginning on April 6, 2023, a process that is intended to be helpful will be in place for those with PGWP who want to extend their work permit and thus retain skilled labour in Canada.

Eligibility For the PGWP Extension

International graduates are an essential supply of potential permanent residents. Each year, tens of thousands effectively transfer to permanent residence, including more than 157,000 in 2021, a record high, and nearly 95,000 in 2022, the second-highest number ever.

Foreign nationals whose PGWP has already expired or who were qualified for the 2022 PGWP facilitative measure can obtain an additional 18-month work permit.

Those whose work permit has already expired can also restore their status even if they are beyond the 90-day restoration period and will get a temporary work authorization while their new work permit application is in process.

International graduates who possess talent and expertise are essential to helping Canada counter its labour shortage. Those who have almost finished their PGWP have already become integral to the Canadian labour market. This additional work permit will let those who qualify continue contributing to the Canadian economy, acquire invaluable work experience, and be ready to apply for permanent residence.

Retaining International Skills

Employers in Canada are encountering previously unseen difficulties when attempting to hire and keep the required staff during this economic revival and expansion period. The PGWP has always been used to increase the skilled labour force. In the past, the PGWP was a temporary visa that international graduates could only apply for once, meaning there was no option for an extension.

PGWP holders who want to remain in Canada as workers after their PGWP expires are typically required to file for another work permit. Prior public policies enacted in 2021 and 2022 allowed for extra work authorization for those with expired PGWPs. However, the new announcement offers the opportunity to extend.

According to Fraser:

“We need to use every tool in our toolbox to support employers who continue to face challenges in hiring the workers they need to grow. At the same time, we’re providing international graduates whose work permit is expiring or has expired with some additional time to stay in Canada to gain valuable work experience and potentially qualify to become a permanent resident.”

The PGWP Program enables students who have graduated from eligible Canadian Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) to acquire an open work permit and achieve useful Canadian job experience.

Skilled Canadian job experience in Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities (TEER) categories 0, 1, 2, or 3 obtained through the PGWP Program enables grads to apply for permanent residence in Canada through the Express Entry Canadian Experience Class. By doing so, Canada retains vital skilled labour.

IRCC is aware of problems some PGWP users had with the 2022 facilitative procedure. Lessons gained from that procedure are being applied to a comparable one. Anyone qualified under the 2022 plan can file for an open work visa and regain their position under the new public policy. In the coming weeks, instructions for registering will be accessible on the IRCC website.

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