Canada Extends Work Permits for Foreign Graduates to Address Labor Shortage

Canada Extends Work Permits for Foreign Graduates: In response to the unprecedented challenges faced by employees in finding and retaining skilled workers during the current period of economic recovery and growth, the Honorable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenships, has announced a new measure to provide extended work permits for international graduates with recently expired or expiring post-graduation work permits (PGWPs). The aim is to allow these graduates to stay longer in Canada and gain additional work experience for up to 18 months, contributing to the country’s labor market and potential permanent residency.

Background on PGWPs

Typically, PGWPs are not extendable, and holders seeking to extend their stay in Canada as workers are expected to apply for a different type of work permit as their PGWPs expire. However, public policies introduced in 2021 and 2022 provided the opportunity for an additional work permit for those with expiring PGWPs, addressing the specific needs of international graduates.

Extending Work Permits for Graduates

Effective from April 6, 2023, eligible holders of expired or expiring PGWPs will have the opportunity to opt into a facilitative process to extend their work permits. This initiative will not only provide an extended stay but also allow Canada to retain high-skilled talent, recognizing the crucial role played by talented international graduates in addressing the country’s labor shortage.


Applying for Extended Work Permits

Foreign nationals whose PGWPs expired in 2023 and those who were eligible for the 2022 PGWP facilitative measure will be able to apply for an additional 18-month work permit. Even individuals with expired work permits beyond the usual 90-day restoration period will have the chance to restore their status and receive interim work authorization while awaiting the processing of their new work permit applications.

Benefits for Canadas Labor Market

Skilled international graduates are considered a valuable resource in addressing Canada’s labor shortage. As many of these graduates are already well integrated into the country’s labor market, the extended work permits will enable eligible applicants to continue contributing to the Canadian economy while gaining essential work experience. Moreover, this opportunity will prepare them for potential permanent residence applications in the future.

Ministers Statement

The Honorable Sean Fraser emphasized the importance of using all available tools to support employers facing work force challenges, while also providing international graduates with additional time to gain valuable work experience and potentially qualify for permanent residency. These measures aim to balance the needs of both employers and graduates.

Process and Instructions

  1. Starting from April 6,2023, eligible PGWP holders will receive instructions to log into their online IRCC Secure Account.
  2. Upon logging in, they will have the option to opt in and update their personal information.
  3. The government had incorporated lessons learned from the facilitative process implemented in 2022 to improve the application process this time.
  4. Detailed instructions on how to apply will be made available on the IRCC website in the upcoming weeks.

Significance of International Graduates

International graduates constitute a significant source of future permanent residents in Canada. Each year, tens of thousands successfully transition to permanent residence, with over 157,000 individuals achieving this status in 2021- a record high and nearly 95,000 in 2022, the second-highest total ever recorded.

Statistics and Future Outlook

By the end of 2022, more than 286,000 international graduates were residing in Canada with valid post-graduation work permits. Approximately 127,000 PGWPs are set to expire in 2023, with around 67,000 holders having already applied for permanent residence and not requiring an extension of their work.

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