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PGWP changes part of new immigration measures to address Canada’s labour shortage

The Government of Canada today announced new measures to address labour shortages as the country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a new temporary policy that will give recent international graduates with expiring temporary status an opportunity to stay in Canada longer so they can continue to gain work experience and have a better chance at qualifying for permanent residency.

Starting in the summer, former international students who are in Canada and have a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) expiring between January and December 2022 will qualify for an additional open work permit of up to 18 months.

The government said it is exploring a simplified, expeditious process for this and more details will be made available in the weeks ahead.

“These talents and skilled international graduates play a vital role in addressing our labour shortage, and those nearing the end of the Post-Graduation Work Permit are already well integrated into Canada’s labour market and work in key industries across the country,” the government said in a news release.

“Tens of thousands are able to successfully transition to permanent residence each year, including more than 157,000 former students who became permanent residents in 2021, with more than 88,000 of them transitioning directly from a Post-Graduation Work Permit to permanent status.”

The government said about 95,000 PGWPs will expire between January 31 and December 31, 2022. While many former international students with expiring work permits have already transitioned to permanent residence, applied for permanent residence, or a different type of work permit, it’s expected that as many as 50,000 applicants could benefit from this temporary measure.

Among the other measures announced on April 22, 2022, Express Entry draws will soon resume and that invitations for candidates to apply for permanent residence will begin in early July.

“With the economy growing faster than employers can hire new workers, Canada needs to look at every option so that we have the skills and labour needed to fuel our growth,” Minister Fraser said.

“Immigration will be crucial to easing our labour shortage, and these measures aim to address pressing needs in all sectors across the country while providing more opportunities for recent graduates and other applicants to build their lives in Canada and continue contributing to our short-term and long-term prosperity.”

Other policy changes that will take effect this summer, include:

  • Applicants will no longer be required to remain in Canada while their application is being processed.
  • Applicants who apply for an open work permit while waiting for their permanent residence application to be finalized will be able to get work permits valid until the end of 2024, ensuring that all permanent residence applications are finalized before applicants will need to apply to extend their temporary status again.
  • To support family reunification, immediate family members who are outside Canada and who were included in a principal applicant’s permanent residence application will be eligible for their own open work permit.

For more information, visit the IRCC website at canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship.html.

Published on April 22, 2022.