As part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to support international students through this challenging time, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that former international students who hold or held a PGWP will have the opportunity to apply for an open work permit.
Yet the pandemic has presented myriad challenges for international students. Most notably, for many holders of a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), the pandemic’s disruption and uncertainty have jeopardized their chances of obtaining the work experience they need to apply for permanent residence.
Foreign nationals in Canada affected by the pandemic with an expired or expiring PGWP will have a unique chance to apply for another open work permit. These will be valid for 18 months and allow former international students to remain in Canada, continue to seek employment and build their future in this country.
Who Can Apply
To be eligible for this open work permit, you must meet the following 5 requirements:
- Your PGWP
- expired on or after January 30, 2020, or
- will expire within 4 months from the date you apply for this open work permit.
- You were in Canada as of January 27, 2021, when the public policy took effect, and have stayed in Canada since then.
- You either
- have a temporary resident status (this could be from having a valid PGWP, visitor record, or another permit that allows you to stay in Canada), or
- lost your temporary resident status, but you’ve already applied to restore it, or
- lost your temporary resident status, but you’ll apply to restore it at the same time as applying for this open work permit
- You include in your application that you’re applying for an open work permit under this public policy.
- You have a valid passport.
- The work permit will be issued for up to 18 months from the date of approval or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. For example, if your passport is valid for 6 months, then you will be issued an open work permit for 6 months.
- To maximize the duration of the open work permit, make sure your passport is valid for at least 18 months from the date of approval.
For this open work permit (OWP), you must apply online by July 27, 2021. You can only get this OWP once, and it cannot be extended. If your passport is valid for 18 months or longer, then you’ll be issued an open work permit for up to 18 months.
- In 1971, there were 6.6 people of working age for each senior. There are currently 3 Canadian workers for every retired Canadian, but by 2035, there will be only 2 workers for every retiree. Without immigrants to help support the needs of an aging population, younger Canadians will end up paying more per person to provide the same benefits.
- IRCC estimates that as many as 52,000 graduates with expired or expiring PGWPs could benefit from the public policy. Of nearly 61,000 PGWP holders whose work permit had an expiry date between January and December 2020, about half either have already become permanent residents or have a permanent residence application in processing.
- More than 58,000 graduates successfully applied to immigrate permanently in 2019, and their decisions to stay in Canada will help to address our stark demographic challenges.