International students contribute so much to Canada, including over $21 billion annually to our economy and supporting the vitality of our communities. Unfortunately, the pandemic has presented critical challenges for international students. In particular, for many holders of a post-graduate work permit (PGWP), the pandemic’s uncertainty and disruption has severely jeopardized their chances of obtaining the valuable work experience an individual requires to apply for permanent residence.
As part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to support international students through this difficult time, the Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced on 8 January 2021, that former international students who were affected by the pandemic with an expiring or expired PGWP will have the opportunity to apply for an open work permit. These open work permits will be valid for 18 months and give the opportunity for former international students to remain in Canada, continue to seek employment and continue building their prosperous future in this country.
The government has made significant efforts to encourage international students to settle in Canada, as they help create new jobs and fill labour shortages allowing our businesses to continue thriving. International students also bring strong employment and language skills, which are bolstered by their Canadian education and work experience.
The government announced that as we confront the pandemic’s second wave and plan for our course of recovery, attracting skilled immigrants is a central part of the plan. This new policy will help more graduates fill critical positions in areas like health care, technology and more.
To apply for an open work permit under this new policy, an applicant must:
- Have a PGWP that expired on or after 30 January 2020, or a PGWP that expires in 4 months or less from the date they apply
- Still be in Canada
- Have a valid temporary status, or be applying to restore their status.
Applications will be open from 27 January to 27 July 2021. Details on how to apply will be added to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada website on 27 January 2021.