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Canada Extends Duration of Interim Work Authorization Letters for International Graduates

International Graduates

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Canada has recently extended the validity period of interim work authorization letters provided to international graduates awaiting a decision on their work permit applications. These letters will now remain valid for 180 days from the date of application submission, compared to the previous duration of 120 days.

What is an Interim Work Authorization Letter?

Interim work authorization letters, issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), signify permission for international graduates to commence employment while awaiting the final decision on their work permit application. These letters enable international graduates to engage in full-time work without a work permit, provided they apply for the work permit before their study permit expires and meet specific conditions during the application process. This initiative empowers graduates to enter the workforce before IRCC reaches a decision on their work permit application.

Criteria for Issuance of Interim Work Authorization Letters for International Graduates

Requirements for International Graduates Seeking to Work Before Applying for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP):

  • Hold a valid study permit when submitting the work permit application.
  • Successfully complete their program of study.
  • Fulfill the criteria for working off campus without a work permit, including:
  • Enroll as a full-time student at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).
  • Participate in a post-secondary academic, vocational, or professional training program lasting at least 8 months.
  • Attain a degree, diploma, or certificate from the program.
  • Adhere to the permissible hours of work for full-time students in Canada, noting that a temporary public policy enacted by IRCC allowed students to work beyond the regular 20-hour weekly limit from November 15th, 2022, to April 30th, 2024.

Applicants possessing an interim work authorization letter can continue working in Canada, even if they depart and re-enter the country (although many individuals will require a valid temporary resident visa for re-entry). However, it’s important to note that an interim work authorization letter does not serve as a travel document.

What Occurs if 180 Days Elapse Without a Decision on an Application?

IRCC advises that if 180 days have elapsed without a decision on the application, applicants can request ongoing proof of authorization to work directly from IRCC. This can be accomplished by using the IRCC webform.

The Webform

The IRCC Webform is an online form that the immigration department uses to answer any questions that applicants may have regarding their specific application.

This route is specifically for those who want to enquire about a submitted application that has exceeded processing times, as well as those who want to update important details of their application. In addition, the form can be used by those who:

  • Wish to add/change/update their use of a representative in an application, and are ready to submit supporting documents to do so;
  • Require urgent processing or replacement of their PR card (provided they meet certain criteria); and
  • Wish to report a technical issue with IRCC online services.

Typically, it takes approximately 30 days to receive a response from IRCC through this channel, although the timeframe may vary depending on the request’s complexity and the need for additional information. It’s important to note that IRCC will not respond to your webform request if your application is still within official processing time limits. Additionally, please be aware that it may take up to five business days for the department to update your application with information submitted through the webform.

Contact us for more details.


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