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Former International Students With Expired PGWPs Get Canada Permanent Residence Lifeline

Canada is to offer holders of Post Graduation Work Permit the chance to qualify for an Open Work Permit to help gather the experience they need to be eligible for Canadian permanent residence.

A new public policy announced by the Minister for Immigration Marco Mendicino on Friday, Jan. 8 is aimed at former international students who had an opportunity to qualify for permanent residence affected by COVID-19.

Candidates with a Post-graduate work permit that expired on or after January 30, 2020, and are still in Canada, will have a six-month window to apply for an eighteen (18) month Open Work Permit to help them continue to look for the work experience they need to be eligible to stay in Canada long-term.

“This new policy means that young international students from abroad who have studied here can stay and find employment, while ensuring that Canada meets the urgent needs of our economy for the future,” Mendicino said.

“Our message to international students and graduates is very clear: we do not just want you to study here, we want you to live here.”

Why Is This New Policy Needed?

International students eligible for a PGWP based on the length of their length of studies at a Designated Learning Institution in Canada.

Prior to the global coronavirus pandemic, candidates who studied in Canada for between eight (8) months and two (2) years are eligible for a PGWP the same as the length of their studies, while other candidates studying for two years or more are eligible for a three-year work permit.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a number of changes were made to the requirements, allowing candidates forced to study far away in their home countries to still add time towards their PGWP.

Once working in Canada on a PGWP, former international students can then gather vital experience to put towards a Canadian permanent residence application.

However, holders of PGWP who lost their jobs due to the pandemic, were left high and dry, not able to gather the required work experience.

Now these candidates will be able to qualify for an Open Work Permit, and granted an extra time to gather work experience and qualify for Canada permanent residence.

International Students Crucial to Canada’s Economy 

According to IRCC, international student are worth CAD $21 billion per year to Canada.

The Canadian government considers them blue chip candidates for permanent residence: They are young, vibrant, have Canadian education and work experience, plus the required language skills and knowledge of life in Canada. In 2019, more than 58,000 international graduates became Canadian permanent residents.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) states up to 52,000 former international students will be eligible under the policy. Applications will be open from Jan. 27 to July 27, 2021.

Who is eligible for For the New Open Work Permit?

Candidates must:

  • Have a postgraduate work permit that expired on or after January 30, 2020, or a PGWP that expires in four months or less from the date they apply.
  • Live in be in Canada
  • Have a valid temporary status, or be applying to restore their status