Ottawa announces extension of post-grad work permits for up to 18 months to retain high-skilled talent
Ottawa is letting recent international graduates stay in the country longer, citing the “unprecedented challenges” employers are having in finding and retaining workers.
Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that international graduates with a recently expired or expiring post-graduation work permit (PGWP) will quality for an additional or extended work permit to stay longer and gain additional work experience for up to 18 months. The PGWP Program allows international graduates to obtain an open work permit to gain valuable Canadian work experience.
“We need to use every tool in our toolbox to support employers who continue to face challenges in hiring the workers they need to grow,” said Fraser. “At the same time, we’re providing international graduates whose work permit is expiring or has expired with some additional time to stay in Canada to gain valuable work experience and potentially qualify to become a permanent resident.”
Starting April 6, 2023, these measures will allow PGWP holders who wish to stay longer to opt in to a facilitative process to extend their work permit and will allow Canada to retain high-skilled talent.
Foreign nationals whose PGWP has already expired in 2023 and those who were eligible for the 2022 PGWP facilitative measure will also have the opportunity to apply for an additional 18-month work permit. Those with expired work permits will be able to restore their status, even if they are beyond the 90-day restoration period, and will receive an interim work authorization while awaiting processing of their new work permit application.
Talented and skilled international graduates play a vital role in addressing Canada’s labour shortage, and those nearing the end of their PGWP are already well integrated into Canada’s labour market. The additional work permit will allow eligible applicants to continue contributing to the Canadian economy while gaining valuable work experience and preparing for the opportunity to apply for permanent residence.
International graduates are an important source of future permanent residents, the government said in a press release.
“Tens of thousands successfully transition to permanent residence each year, including more than 157,000 in 2021, a record high, and nearly 95,000 in 2022, the second-highest total ever,” it said.
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