Immigration Minister Sean Fraser today announced that international graduates with a recently expired or expiring post-graduation work permit (PGWP) will quality for an additional or extended work permit to stay longer and gain additional work experience for up to 18 months.
Starting April 6, 2023, these measures will allow PGWP holders who wish to stay longer to opt in to a facilitative process to extend their work permit.
“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,” Fraser said in a statement. “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.”
Foreign nationals whose PGWP has already expired in 2023 and those who were eligible for the 2022 PGWP facilitative measure will also have the opportunity to apply for an additional 18-month work permit. Those with expired work permits will be able to restore their status, even if they are beyond the 90-day restoration period, and will receive an interim work authorization while awaiting processing of their new work permit application.
PGWP holders who are eligible for the facilitative process will soon receive messages about logging into their online IRCC Secure Account, starting April 6, to opt in and update key personal information.
“IRCC is aware of issues that some PGWP holders experienced with the facilitative process used in 2022,” the statement from the department read. “Lessons learned from that process have been applied as we implement a similar one.”
The new public policy will allow anyone who was eligible under the 2022 initiative to apply for an open work permit and to restore their status. Instructions on applying will be available on IRCC’s website in the weeks ahead.
A PGWP is typically not extendable. PGWP holders who want to extend their stay in Canada as a worker are usually expected to apply for another type of work permit as their PGWP expires. Public policies previously adopted in 2021 and 2022 provided the opportunity for an additional work permit for those with expiring PGWPs.
At the end of 2022, more than 286,000 international graduates were in Canada with a valid post-graduation work permit. About 127,000 PGWPs expire in 2023, though about 67,000 PGWP holders have already applied for permanent residence and won’t need to extend their work permit through this initiative.
IRCC says international graduates are an important source of future permanent residents. Tens of thousands successfully transition to permanent residence each year, including more than 157,000 in 2021, a record high, and nearly 95,000 in 2022, the second-highest total ever.