Foreign citizens having expired or expiring post-graduation work permits will now qualify to work in Canada longer.

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), on Friday, announced that international graduates with a recently expired or expiring post-graduation work permit (PGWP) will qualify for an additional or extended work permit to stay longer and gain additional work experience for up to 18 months.

Do you fulfill the immigration criteria? Check here

The PGWP Program permits overseas graduates to receive an open work permit to get important Canadian job 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. 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,” Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said.

A PGWP is often not extensible. PGWP holders who wish to prolong their stay in Canada as a worker are normally asked to apply for another sort of work visa once their PGWP expires. Governmental policies previously implemented in 2021 and 2022 gave the possibility for an extra work permit for persons with expired PGWPs.

Businesses are experiencing unprecedented difficulty in recruiting and maintaining the people they need at this moment of economic recovery and expansion, the IRCC said, adding that this step was targeted at filling up important labor shortages.

Beginning April 6, 2023, these changes will enable PGWP holders who choose to remain longer to opt into a facilitative procedure to extend their work permit and will help Canada to retain high-skilled personnel.

PGWP holders who are eligible will receive instructions about going into their online IRCC Secure Account, commencing April 6, to opt-in and update critical personal information.

Those with expired permits

Foreign nationals whose PGWP has already expired in 2023 and those who were qualified for the 2022 PGWP facilitative measure will also have the option to apply for an extra 18-month work permit.

Individuals with expired work permits will be able to restore their status, even if they are past the 90-day restoration term, and will obtain interim work authorization while awaiting approval of their new work permit application.

The extra work permit will enable qualified candidates to continue contributing to the Canadian economy while obtaining significant job experience and preparing for the possibility to apply for permanent residency.

International graduates are an important source of future permanent residents. 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,” the IRCC said.

By the end of 2022, more than 286,000 foreign graduates were in Canada with valid post-graduation work visas. Roughly 127,000 PGWPs expire in 2023, while about 67,000 PGWP holders have already filed for permanent residency and won’t need to renew their work permits via this effort.