PGWP Holders: Apply for an Open Work Permit Extension

Last updated: 17 March 2023

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If you are a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holder whose work permit expires, or has expired in 2023—or between September 2021, and December 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. 

Do you need work permit assistance? Cohen Immigration Law is a leading Canadian immigration law firm with over 45 years of expertise.

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Effective April 6th, 2023, Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holders whose work permit has expired or will expire in 2023, may be eligible for an open work permit extension. This measure also applies to those eligible for the previous PGWP extension, whose status was set to expire between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2022.

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 recovery. 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?

As of April 6th, 2023, international students whose Post-Graduation Work Permit expired, or is set to expire in 2023 will be eligible to apply for an extension of their status of up to 18 months. 

Those with expired PGWPs will be able to restore their status, even if beyond the 90-day restoration period—and will receive an interim work authorization while awaiting processing of their new work permit application.

In addition, those whose PGWP 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.

Effective April 6th 2023, eligible PGWP holders will receive messages regarding steps to opt in and update key personal information via their IRCC Secure Account—to apply to extend or renew their work permit. 

Can I work while I wait for my OWP?

IRCC has announced that both relevant cohorts (those whose PGWP expires in 2023; and those whose PGWP expired between September 2021 and December 2022) will be eligible to receive an interim work permit authorization while awaiting processing of their new open work permit. 

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.

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 become eligible for immigration programs leading to permanent residence. 

Contact the Cohen Immigration Law Firm for Assistance

Do you need work permit assistance? The Cohen Immigration Law Firm can help. We offer over 45 years of expertise assisting workers and employers obtain Canadian work permits.

Please complete our short form to submit your question directly to our law firm. One of our lawyers will contact you to schedule a free telephone consultation.

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