As of December 7, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have issued crucial updates regarding Canada’s international student program, particularly in relation to Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holders. It’s essential to delve into the recent developments to understand the implications and explore potential pathways for those navigating the Canadian immigration landscape.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, IRCC has been proactive in supporting PGWP holders by providing extensions. These extensions were a response to the unprecedented labor market disruptions and processing delays experienced during the pandemic and post-pandemic recovery. The extensions allowed PGWP holders to sustain their employment in Canada, providing a valuable bridge during uncertain times.
However, the recent announcement from IRCC signals a shift in this policy. Notably, IRCC confirmed that it would not be offering additional extensions to PGWP holders. This decision marks the conclusion of a series of extensions, with the most recent one, granted on April 6, providing an 18-month open work permit for those whose PGWP is set to expire on or before December 31, 2023.
Post-Graduation Work Permits are a lifeline for international students graduating from Canadian institutions. These permits enable graduates to stay and work in Canada, gaining valuable Canadian work experience. The standard validity of PGWPs is determined by the duration of the candidate’s academic program. However, beyond the special extensions, these permits are typically not renewable.
In 2022, the significance of PGWPs in the immigration landscape was evident, with 98,000 PGWP holders transitioning to permanent residency. This constituted nearly 82% of all temporary residents who became permanent residents that year. It underscored the vital role PGWPs play in the integration of international students into the Canadian workforce.
Express Entry remains one of the most favored pathways for PGWP holders aspiring to attain permanent resident status in Canada. However, the cessation of PGWP extensions has raised concerns among candidates, especially those in the Express Entry pool whose PGWPs are approaching expiration.
The recent pause in Express Entry draws, spanning from October 26 to December 6, has added another layer of complexity. Candidates without Invitations to Apply (ITAs) face the challenge of losing their eligibility to work in Canada, as the pause in draws impedes their ability to apply for permanent resident status or maintained status during the processing of their application by IRCC.
While IRCC did conduct three draws between December 6 and December 8, including category-based selection draws, the uncertainties created by the pause highlight the importance of exploring alternative options for Express Entry candidates.
Express Entry candidates facing the expiration of their PGWPs have several options to consider. Understanding these alternatives is crucial for a strategic and informed decision-making process:
As the era of PGWP extensions concludes, Express Entry candidates must carefully evaluate these options to ensure a smooth transition while awaiting their immigration status in Canada. The evolving landscape requires adaptability and informed decision-making to navigate the complexities of the immigration process.
Dev Immigration, as a dedicated immigration company, stands as a valuable ally for individuals navigating the complexities of the evolving Canadian immigration landscape, especially in light of recent changes to PGWP policies. Our team, led by Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs), possesses in-depth knowledge of immigration processes and stays abreast of policy updates. For Express Entry candidates facing the expiration of their PGWPs, Dev Immigration offers tailored guidance and strategic solutions. Whether it’s exploring alternative work permits, understanding eligibility for bridging programs, or ensuring compliance with evolving regulations, our experts provide personalized assistance. Dev Immigration’s commitment is not just to facilitate immigration but to empower individuals with the information and support needed to make informed decisions on their journey to Canadian permanent residency.