International graduates with Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP) that were extended for 18 months last year need not fear them running out because they qualify for an open work permit under new Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) measures.
“Similar to the policy launched in 2021 for those with expiring post-graduation work permits, the new measures allow foreign nationals whose post-graduation work permit expired or will expire from Sept. 20 to Dec. 31, 2022, the opportunity to get an additional 18 months to work in Canada,” Rémi Larivière, a spokesperson for IRCC told Immigration.ca in an email.
“It is important to note that some foreign nationals who may have applied under the 2021 policy for those with expiring post-graduation work permits could also apply under this new policy,” he said.
“Applicants whose post-graduation work permit expired between Sept. 20, 2021, and Nov. 27, 2021, could meet the criteria for both.”
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The reassurance from the Canadian immigration official comes as many PGWP holders are worrying about their future in Canada. Many fear their PGWP will expire before they have an opportunity to apply for permanent residency under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
“Anyone who held a post-graduation work permit previously, and then had an additional work permit through the 2021 policy, will have had between two and 4.5 years to gain work experience,” said Larivière.
“This means that even those who qualified for a minimum length of post-graduation work permit originally, because they graduated from a short program, will have had more than two years to work in Canada. Many more graduates are approved for the maximum three-year post-graduation work permit than the minimum length of eight months.”
Under the CEC program, applicants need to demonstrate they have at least a year’s worth of work experience.
Extra Work Experience In Canada Boosts CRS Scores And Helps With Express Entry Applications
In the draws for Invitations to Apply (ITA) under that program, the IRCC scours the Express Entry pool of profiles which are ranked according to their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores, with those applicants with higher scores being more likely to receive an ITA.
By having more work experience in Canada, applicants gain more points.
While an applicant without a spouse or common-law partner can get 40 points for one year of work experience, four years of work experience would give him or her 72 points, providing that applicant with an edge in the selection process compared to applicants with less work experience.
“The government recognizes that international students are an important source of future permanent residents,” said Larivière. “Of the 406,005 people who became permanent residents in 2021, more than 157,000 were former international students, a new record.”
TR-to-PR Pathway In The Works Geared To International Students
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser is also known to be working on a new temporary-to-permanent resident (TR-to-PR) pathway likely geared to international students and that program is expected to be announced within a few months.
“We are looking right now at the best path forward to create a permanent pathway for temporary residents,” Fraser reportedly told the CBC in June.
Last year, Canada announced it would accept 90,000 applications from temporary residents under a one-time TR-to-PR program which took applications until November.
That pathway targeted healthcare and other workers in Canada and recent international graduates from Canadian colleges and universities. It applied across the country except for the francophone province of Quebec which operates its own immigration system.
The pathway had accepted 84,177 applications and IRCC figures show Canada had welcomed 23,885 new permanent residents under this TR-to-PR pathway by the end of last year.
With the potential new pathway for temporary residents to get their permanent residency within 120 days following a motion in the House of Commons in May. That means this pathway’s announcement is imminent, likely to be unveiled before the end of September.
“That actually puts me on a clock to come up with a framework to establish this new permanent residency pathway, not just for international students, but also for temporary foreign workers,” Fraser reportedly told the national broadcaster back in June.
“We’re in the depths of planning the policy so we can have a policy that’s not driven by a need to respond urgently in the face of an emergency, but actually to have a permanent pathway that provides a clear path for those seeking permanent residency who can enter Canada.”
In his e-mailed response to Immigration.ca on Aug. 18, the IRCC spokesperson kept his cards close to his chest when it came to questions about this future TR-to-PR program.
“We cannot speculate on future policy or program decisions,” said Larivière. “Details of any new initiative would be announced when appropriate in the future.”