On 17 March 2023, an announcement was made by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that an additional 18-month work permit will be made available to international students whose post-graduation work permits (PGWPs) are expiring in 2023.
The provision is applicable to students whose PGWPs have already expired as well. As per IRCC, “Those whose work permits have expired will have the option to restore their status, even if they are past the 90-day restoration period, and will receive an interim work authorization while they wait for their new work permit application to be processed.”
Typically, students who finish study programmes lasting eight months or more are eligible for PGWPs that permit work periods ranging from eight months to three years, based on the programme’s duration.
Know about Canada Work Permit Guidelines.
A comparable extension was implemented for students with permits expiring in 2022, leading to the recent decision. IRCC has scheduled a “facilitative process” through its online services on 6 April 2023, enabling students to apply for the extension.
In a news release accompanying the announcement, IRCC stated, “Talented and skilled international graduates play a crucial role in addressing Canada’s labor shortage, and those who are nearing the end of their PGWP are already well-integrated into the Canadian labor market. The extra work permit will permit qualified candidates to continue contributing to the Canadian economy while gaining valuable work experience and preparing for the chance to apply for permanent residence.”
The release from IRCC also establishes a clear connection between the PGWP as an opportunity for gaining work experience in Canada and the transition to permanent residency for foreign graduates. According to the department, there were over 157,000 foreign students who received permanent residency status in 2021 (a record number), followed by an additional 95,000 in 2022.
IRCC further states that as of the end of 2022, “Over 286,000 international graduates were in Canada with valid post-graduation work permits. Roughly 127,000 PGWPs are set to expire in 2023, though around 67,000 PGWP holders have already applied for permanent residency and will not need to extend their work permit via this program.” These statistics imply that roughly 60,000 students with expiring PGWPs will qualify for the extension that was recently announced.