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PGWP holders eligible for Open Work Permit extensions beginning April 6, 2023

Vimal Sivakumar - 17 March, 2023

DLI programs
DLI programs

The announcement was made this morning at an event hosted at Humber College in Etobicoke, Ontario.

Canada's Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, joined by Etobicoke-Lakeshore Member of Parliament (MP) James Maloney, announced today that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will allow eligible international student graduates who have an expiring Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) to apply for an Open Work Permit (OWP) extension of up to 18 months. 

This extension, which eligible students can apply for online as of April 6, will be available to all PGWP holders who had their permit expire in 2022 (and applied for an OWP extension last year) and those who hold a permit set to expire in 2023.

Today's announcement is an important one in the world of Canadian immigration, as the PGWP increasingly becomes a key part of the journey to Canadian permanent residence for many international students. As a result of this PGWP extension, permit holders will be able to continue contributing to the Canadian economy while simultaneously acquiring key work experience necessary for an eventual transition to permanent residence in Canada.

Note: According to Statistics Canada data released in 2022, uptake of the PGWP increased by more than six times over a ten-year period ending in 2018. In 2008, the annual number of new PGWP holders was 10,300. By 2018, this number had grown to 64,700. 

About the PGWP

PGWPs enable international student graduates from eligible programs at a Canadian designated learning institution (DLI) to work in Canada for up to three years (depending on the length of the program from which the PGWP holder graduated). 

The time spent working after obtaining this permit can be used to fulfill the one year of Canadian work experience required to become eligible for permanent residence in this country. 

Additionally, generally speaking, many of Canada's economic immigration programs reward candidates who have Canadian work experience. This includes the programs managed under the federal government's Express Entry system, which rewards candidates with additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points for having work experience in this country.

Accordingly, since most international students in Canada display a desire to eventually become a PR, the PGWP has become a key part of many people's transition from temporary residence to permanent residence in Canada. 

Note: In 2022, PGWP holders accounted for roughly 82% of all temporary resident to permanent resident transitions across the country (98,000 permit holders)

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