IRCC to extend student work permits, resume Express Entry 

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced today that Express Entry draws will soon resume and that invitations for candidates to apply for permanent residence will begin in early July. Former international students with a post-graduation work permit expiring between January and December 2022 will also qualify for an additional open work permit of up to 18 months.

“With the economy growing faster than employers can hire new workers, Canada needs to look at every option so that we have the skills and labour needed to fuel our growth,” said Minister Fraser. “Immigration will be crucial to easing our labour shortage, and these measures aim to address pressing needs in all sectors across the country, while providing more opportunities for recent graduates and other applicants to build their lives in Canada and continue contributing to our short-term recovery and long-term prosperity.”

Invitations to apply under the federal high-skilled streams, including the Canadian experience class, federal skilled worker class and federal skilled trades class were temporarily paused during the pandemic. After resumption in early July, the vast majority of new applications in the Express Entry category will be processed within six months, according to a statement from IRCC.

Minister Fraser also announced a new temporary policy that will give recent international graduates with expiring temporary status an opportunity to stay in Canada longer, so that they can continue to gain work experience and have a better chance at qualifying for permanent residency. 

Starting in summer, former international students who are in Canada and have a post-graduation work permit expiring between January and December 2022 (numbering around 95,000 according to IRCC) will qualify for an additional open work permit of up to 18 months.  IRCC estimates that as many as 50,000 applicants could benefit from this temporary measure.

IRCC says it is exploring a simplified, expeditious process for this, and details will be made available in the weeks ahead.

Through another temporary public policy implemented in August 2020, foreign nationals in Canada as visitors have been able to apply for an employer-specific work permit without having to leave Canada. “Recognizing that those with visitor status in Canada may also wish to stay and find meaningful employment, this temporary public policy has been extended to February 28, 2023,” the statement read.

Minister Fraser also announced new measures for those who applied for permanent residence through the temporary resident to permanent resident pathway last year. The limited-time pathway was launched in 2021 to invite a broad range of individuals already working in Canada to apply to stay permanently. While closed to new applications from November 2021, the processing of applications will continue for some time. 

As per policy changes announced, effective this summer, applicants will no longer be required to remain in Canada while their application is being processed.

Additionally, those who apply for an open work permit while waiting for their permanent residence application to be finalized will be able to get work permits valid until the end of 2024. This will ensure that all permanent residence applications will be finalized before applicants will need to apply to extend their temporary status again, according to IRCC.

To support family reunification, immediate family members who are outside Canada and who were included in a principal applicant’s permanent residence application will be eligible for their own open work permit.

More than 100,000 work permit applications were processed in the first quarter of 2022, nearly double the number processed over the same time period in 2021, IRCC said in a statement to Can India News.

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