Written by Katie Van Nostrand, Mathews Dinsdale
Employers are set to benefit from recent changes to Post-Graduation Work Permit rules.
On 17 March 2023 Canada’s 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 of up to 18 months. The PGWP Program allows international graduates to obtain an open work permit upon graduation from certain Canadian post-secondary institutions. Because the PGWP is an open work permit, it allows employers the flexibility to easily hire these foreign nationals without the need for any employer sponsorship.
From 6 April 2023, certain PGWP holders wishing to remain in Canada were allowed to opt-in to a simplified process to extend their work permit. Foreign nationals whose PGWP has 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 outside the 90 day restoration period, and will receive an interim work authorisation while their application is processed.
There are currently two ways to obtain this post-graduation work permit extension. Applicants must either have opted into the simplified process, or apply for a work permit under the public policy.
A simplified process
Some current and former post-graduation work permit holders may have qualified for a simplified process to obtain a (further) PGWP. To do so, applicants were required to opt in through their myCIC account before 20 May 2023, and before the expiry of their work permit. Those likely eligible for the scheme will have been contacted and given the option to extend their permit for 18 months.
Applying for a work permit under a public policy
If an applicant did not opt in within the time or are not eligible to opt in, they must apply for a work permit under the new public policy. Note that unlike the last PGWP public policy, an applicant can obtain a PGWP under this new public policy even if they had already obtained one under a previous public policy, as long as their original PGWP expiry date was between 20 September 2021 and 31 December 2023.
These measures will be helpful to Canadian Employers who rely on foreign nationals to assist their businesses due to current labour shortages. Employers are encouraged to make any eligible employees aware of these options.