On January 8, 2021, Canada introduced a new policy. According to this new policy, international students can apply for a new open work permit. This policy will allow the previous international students to have an expired or nearly expiring Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP).
Moreover, this policy aims to provide more time for PGWP holders to gain work experience. This work experience will be helpful for them to be eligible for Canadian immigration. However, the government has introduced this policy to help PGWP holders who have lost their jobs or may face hours cut due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Moreover, research from the Canadian government shows that former international students can participate quickly into the Canadian labor market upon gaining permanent residence due in larger part to their Canadian work experience and education.
These new open work permits will now be valid for at least 18 months. However, they will enable former international students to live and continue working in Canada. It is different from closed work permits that bound a foreign worker to only one employer in Canada.
Requirements for Open Work Permit
However, open work permits enable foreign nationals to work for any employer they want to work with. In order to apply for an open work permit under the new policy, they should meet the criteria:
- Having a PGWP that expired before, on, or after January 30, 2020. It includes a PGWP that expires in 4 months or less from the date of application;
- The candidates need to be in Canada;
- Having a valid temporary status or applying to restore the status.
The process for the submission of these applications will start from January 27 to July 27, 2021.
According to IRCC, this new policy will be beneficial for 52,000 graduates having expired or nearly expiring PGWPs. This public policy will be helpful and serve the former international students.
Moreover, according to the data provided by IRCC, there are around 61,000 PGWP holders having work permits. However, their permits were having an expiry date between January and December 2020. They became permanent residents or had an application for PR in the process.
International students who have completed their post-secondary education in Canada can now apply for a PGWP. It will help them gain work experience in Canada once they completed their studies for three years.
The Canadian Government offers the Post Graduate Work Permit as part of its efforts for attracting international students. It will also be helpful to retain former students in Canada as skilled workers.
PGWP holders can use their years of experience regarding Canadian study and work experience toward an immigration application.
The PGWP is highly wanted among former international students. However, surveys suggest that 60% of them want their transition to Canadian permanent residence. Moreover, they often need to get professional Canadian work experience to meet the eligibility criteria for a skilled worker immigration pathway.
The PGWP helps them gain such experience and then look forward to submitting their application for skilled worker immigration to Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Program, Quebec Experience Program, and many other streams that help candidates with Canadian work experience.
The government recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has put students at a disadvantage. It has affected the students mostly graduating in 2019 and 2020. It happened due to the weakened labor market.
A larger number of international students were laid off due to these crises. Consequently, it became difficult for them to meet the Canadian work experience requirement for the PGWP. International students are contributing to the local economy while they study in Canada.
It provides a larger pool of highly skilled and educated people who can become permanent residents and participate in the workforce.
According to a recent study, almost one-third of international students having Canadian bachelor’s or master’s degrees became Canadian PR holders in the 10 years after getting their first study permit.
Read More: Canada’s population growth slows to a standstill following reduced immigration in 2020