Canadian Government Announces New Policy to Help Former International Students Stay in Canada Longer
On January 8, 2021, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marco E.L. Mendicino, announced that international students who hold a Post-graduation Work Permit (PGWP) and were affected by COVID-19 in their employment search will have a second chance at securing a Canadian job.
The temporary policy will allow international students with and expired or expiring PGWP to apply for another open work permit that will be valid for 18 months and allow them to stay in Canada. This approach of the government is part of their post-pandemic recovery plan, which seeks to attract skilled immigrants such as foreign graduates to fill pressing needs in the Canadian job market in areas like health care and technology. This will also enable former international students to achieve the necessary employment experience in order to apply for permanent resident status.
International students contribute over $21 billion annually to the Canadian economy. Considering that their tuition fees are almost three to four times above what Canadian nationals pay and that they represent a strong asset to the workforce and vitality of local communities, this new policy will ensure that they will be able to stay in the country and build the futures they invested so much into. Meanwhile, they will continue their contribution to Canada’s recovery and prosperity in the short and long-term.
What are the requirements to apply?
To apply for an open work permit under the new public policy, applicants must:
Have a PGWP that expired on or after January 20, 2020, OR a PGWP that expires in 4 months or less from the date of application.
Still be in Canada and hold a valid temporary status, or be applying to restore their status.
Submit their application between January 27 and July 27, 2021.
Details on how to apply will be added to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) website on January 27, 2021.
IRCC estimates that as many as 52,000 graduates with expired or expiring PGWPs could benefit from this public policy. As reported by The Toronto Star, data from 2019 show that more than 58,000 international students who graduated from a Canadian institution successfully applied to immigrate permanently, which further proves that international education is a viable pathway for immigration in Canada.
As stated by Minister Mendicino: “Whether as nurses on the pandemic’s front lines, or as founders of some of the most promising start-ups, international students are giving back to communities across Canada as we continue the fight against the pandemic. Their status may be temporary, but the contributions of international students are lasting. This new policy means that young students from abroad who have studied here can stay and find work, while ensuring that Canada meets the urgent needs of our economy for today and tomorrow. Our message to international students and graduates is simple: we don’t just want you to study here, we want you to stay here.”
Ivania Botero is a Colombian lawyer and part of the DLG LATAM Team. In addition to assisting our Canadian Economic Immigration Group, she specializes in in Colombian immigration, labour and corporate commercial matters.