Sean Fraser, Canada’s Immigration Minister, has announced that individuals with an expiring Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) can apply for an Open Work Permit extension starting on April 6, 2023.
This extension will be open to anyone whose PGWP will expire in 2023, as well as those who applied for IRCC’s Open Work Permit extension last year and whose PGWP expired in 2022.
Starting on April 6, candidates can apply for the extension on the IRCC website. Upon application, they will receive an email containing an interim work permit authorization, which can be shown to employers as proof of their legal right to continue working in Canada.
Individuals whose legal status in Canada has expired can also apply for an extension and restore their status, even if it has lapsed beyond the 90-day grace period provided by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
As early as April 6, these individuals can restore their status and receive an interim Open Work Permit authorization simultaneously.
Starting on April 6, IRCC will send messages to eligible individuals inviting them to log into their online IRCC Secure Account to apply for the Open Work Permit extension. The extension is available to international students who graduate from an eligible educational program at a Canadian-designated learning institution (DLI).
DLIs are approved educational institutions that welcome international students, including colleges and universities. PGWPs are highly sought-after by international students because they can improve their chances of being selected for Canada’s economic class immigration programs.
Candidates with Canadian studies and work experience can earn more points. Some pathways, such as the federal Express Entry system and the Provincial Nominee Program, offer additional pathways for international graduates.
Canada’s increasing immigration levels and receptiveness to global talent have contributed to higher levels of international students, with over 800,000 international students in Canada at the end of 2022.
PGWP holders make up the majority of temporary residents who transition to permanent residence, with nearly 98,000 PGWP holders becoming permanent residents in 2022.
IRCC has made two exceptions in recent years to enable PGWP holders to apply for Open Work Permit extensions, with the latest exception available to those whose PGWP expired between September 2021 and the end of December 2022.
About 127,000 PGWPs are set to expire in 2023, and IRCC notes that more than 286,000 PGWP holders were in Canada at the end of 2022.
Who can apply for this measure?
According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), individuals who can apply for the 18-month work permit extension include foreign nationals whose PGWP has expired in 2023 and international graduates who were eligible for the 2022 PGWP facilitative measure.
IRCC will soon send messages with instructions to eligible PGWP holders. Additionally, those whose work permits have expired can restore their status, even outside the 90-day restoration period.
They will receive an interim work authorization while their new work permit application is being processed, enabling them to continue working legally in Canada.
PGWP Canada Overview
The Canadian government issues Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs) to international students who have completed a program of study at a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) to work in Canada after graduation.
This program, known as the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP), provides international students with Canadian work experience that can be used to qualify for permanent residency (PR) in Canada through programs such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).