PGWP Holders: Apply for an Open Work Permit Extension

Last updated: 24 November 2022

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If you are a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holder whose work permit expires between September 20, 2021 and December 31, 2022, you may be eligible for an additional open work permit of up to 18 months. 

The introduction of this additional open work permit is part of a special policy by the Government of Canada. 

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Canada has announced that Post-Graduation Work Permit holders whose work permit has expired or will expire between September 20, 2021 and December 31, 2022, may qualify for an additional new open work permit.

This special policy is expected to allow tens of thousands of international graduate students to receive an additional 18-month open work permit (OWP), giving them the opportunity to extend their stay in Canada, and support businesses in finding the workers they need.

Canada is introducing this special measure to support the country's economic recovery and post-pandemic growth. Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of unfilled jobs across the country, with labour shortages in many fields and sectors. Canada recognizes and is committed to supporting the important contributions that international graduates are making to the country's communities and its economy.

Who is eligible for this OWP?

International students whose Post-Graduation Work Permit expired from September 20, 2021, to December 31, 2022, are now eligible to extend their work permits and remain in Canada for an additional 18 months. Those who are presently in Canada will be able to work while their permit is being extended or a new one is being issued.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has outlined the following scenarios for those potentially eligible for this temporary public policy:

1) My post-graduation work permit expires from October 2, 2022, to December 31 2022, my address is up to date and my passport is valid through April 2024.

    Your work permit will sent to you by mid-October. No action is needed on your part. You do not need to respond to the email from IRCC confirming your mailing address.

    2) My PGWP expires after October 2-December 31, 2022, and you need to update your address or passport.

      IRCC will be sending an email to eligible candidates confirming their mailing address by mid-October. Follow the instructions in the email to inform IRCC that your address needs to be updated.

      If you need to update your address or passport information you will receive email instructions from IRCC in September on how to update your mailing address and passport validity. Once you receive this email, you have two weeks to update your information online and you will get your updated work permit by November.

      You may need to extend your passport validity if it expires before April 2, 2024. If you have applied for a PGWP using a paper application, make sure it is linked in your online account

      3) My PGWP expires from October 2, 2022, to December 31, 2022, but IRCC didn’t contact me at all.

        If IRCC does not contact you by mid-September, you are not eligible for a work permit extension through this special process. This could be because other information has been added to your file about your admissibility to Canada that requires review. You may still apply online to extend your work permit.

        4) My PGWP expires from October 2, 2022, to December 31, 2022, but I won’t be able to update my address or passport validity

        You will need to apply online to extend your work permit. You could receive a work permit extended to your passport expiration date, or you could wait to apply until you have renewed your passport 

        5) My PGWP expired or will expire from September 20, 2021, to October 1, 2022

        You will need to apply online for a work permit. Applications open on August 2, 2022. If you are in Canada and your temporary status has also expired, you must apply to restore your status at the same time. Under these special measures, you are allowed to restore your status, even if it expired more than 90 days ago.

        Can I work while I wait for my OWP?

        As of August 8, 2022, those who have PGWPs that are expired or expiring from September 21- December 31, 2022, will receive an email from IRCC that indicates that they are allowed to work in the interim, Recipients can attach this notice to their PGWP to show employers that that are temporarily authorized to work in Canada. The extension is for 18 months and eligible PGWP holders will be able to work while they apply for a new permit. The permit expires on May 31, 2023.

        It is important to note that the email does not restore legal temporary resident status. Rather, it is intended to ensure those with expired or expiring PGWPs can work while they wait for an updated or new OWP. Those who are out of status must apply to restore their status at the same time as they apply for a new work permit. They may still apply for restoration even if more than 90 days have passed since their status expired.

        Those who have valid temporary resident visas but are outside of Canada may return and be authorized to work but the email cannot be used by itself to return to Canada.

        Work permits for applicants to the temporary resident to permanent resident pathways

        Applicants that are part of the temporary resident to permanent resident (TR to PR) pathways whose permanent residence application has not yet been finalized are eligible to apply for an open work permit. This ensures they won’t lose their status or ability to work while they wait for their permanent residence application to be finalized. 

        IRCC recognizes that processing TR to PR applications will continue for some time and those who apply for an OWP can now receive an OWP that doesn’t expire until December 31, 2024, provided their passport is valid through to that date.If an applicants passport expires before then, they will not be eligible to change the length of their current work permit through the special measure. However, they are still eligible to apply and seek a longer work permit to match the day their passport expires or applying after they have updated their passport.

        About 2,500 TR to PR applicants already applied for and received an open work permit through this measure that have an end-date of December 31, 2022. These individuals will soon receive an email from IRCC advising that they are eligible to update their work permit. If the applicant has not changed their mailing address and they still have a valid passport, they are not required to respond or take any action.Those who need to update their mailing address, or if they opt out of receiving one through this process, will no longer be eligible for the special measure. They will need to apply online.

        More About the Open Work Permit Extension

        Canada continues to support those who wish to pursue their life journey in the country. Over the past years of the pandemic, the Canadian government has implemented various policy changes to adapt to the situation and support thousands of students in their efforts to study and immigrate to the country. In April 2022, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced plans to help PGWP holders stay in Canada longer by giving them the opportunity to obtain a new work permit once their initial permit expires.

        Normally, PGWPs are issued for a predetermined period of time and are not extendable. International students graduating from an eligible full-time program may be eligible for an open work permit which can have a validity period of up to three years.

        Recognizing the many impacts of the pandemic on the education community and on recent cohorts of international students in particular, the Canadian government has put in place special policies to ensure that these students can continue to gain work experience and have a fair chance to qualify for immigration programs leading to permanent residence. 

        Namely, this will allow PGWP holders who since September 21, 2021 have not had the opportunity to apply for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), which is managed under the Express Entry system. On that date, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) paused Express Entry draws for CEC candidates in order to clear a backlog of immigration applications. All-program Express Entry draws have resumed on July 6, 2022.

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