On March 17, 2023, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Canadian Minister of Immigration, announced an extension of post-graduation work permits (PGWPs). The new policy extends PGWPs for 18 months, covering expired or expiring permits in 2023. Additionally, those who were eligible for PGWP extension in 2022 will also qualify for this new extension.
Starting April 6, 2023, this policy will enable PGWP holders who want to remain in Canada longer to participate in a facilitative procedure to extend their work permit.
Eligible PGWP holders will soon receive reminders to log in to their online IRCC Secure Account to opt-in and amend their critical personal information. Those who apply will receive an email containing an interim work authorization, which they can affix to their expired PGWPs. This will enable them to continue working for 18 months in Canada and apply for permanent residency.
Former international students with expired PGWPs will also be able to apply for this new open work permit. They will be able to apply for restoration, even if they are beyond the required 90-day window.
The announcement was made after a temporary public policy was implemented in August 2022, which allowed PGWP holders with expiration status on or before December 31, 2022 to extend their stay for an additional 18 months.
The reason behind this policy was the absence of any Canadian Experience Class (CEC) draw after September 2021, which is a major pathway for international students with one year of Canadian experience to apply for permanent residency.
With the new PGWP extension for 2023, it will allow PGWP holders to continue working and staying in Canada. The announcement will help approximately 40,000 PGWP holders who are currently facing expiration and the drought of CEC draws. It is important to note that PGWPs are usually not allowed any extension and an international student can only have a PGWP once.
It is crucial to watch out for the range of dates that will be included in the policy and the exact date when the details on how to apply for the policy will be released. Furthermore, it is still unclear whether PGWP holders will have to apply for the extension or it will be automatically granted or updated. Finally, it remains to be seen when the CEC only draws will resume or the exact date for the start of targeted Express Entry draws.
Overall, this is an essential announcement that will allow international students with PGWPs to continue their work and stay in Canada while providing them with the opportunity to apply for permanent residency.
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