International students bring so much to Canada that they contribute more than $21 billion annually to our economy and support our communities’ vitality. Yet for international students, the pandemic has presented myriad challenges. In particular, for much post-graduation work permit (PGWP) holders, the pandemic’s disruption and uncertainty have compromised their chances of acquiring the work experience they need to apply for permanent residence.
The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, recently announced that former international students holding or holding a PGWP will have the opportunity to apply for an open work permit as part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to support international students through this difficult period.
Foreign nationals within Canada with an expired or expiring PGWP affected by the pandemic will have a great chance to apply for another work permit. These will be valid for 18 months and allow former international students to stay in Canada, continue to look for employment in this country and build their future.
The government has made various efforts to encourage international students to permanently settle in Canada as they help create jobs and fill job shortages so that our companies can thrive. They bring strong employment and language skills, strengthened by their Canadian education and work experience, so they are usually well placed to apply for permanent resident status. In 2019, more than 58,000 graduates successfully applied to immigrate permanently, and their choices to remain in Canada will help address our severe demographic challenges.
As they confront the second wave of the pandemic and chart a course for our recovery, a central part of their plan is to attract skilled immigrants. In areas such as health care, technology and more, this new policy will help more graduates to meet pressing needs. As we look forward, it will help much more international students in Canada build their futures, contributing to our short-term recovery and long-term prosperity in large and small ways.
“Whether as nurses on the pandemic’s front lines or as founders of some of the most promising start-ups, international students are giving back to communities across Canada as we continue the fight against the pandemic. Their status may be temporary, but the contributions of international students are lasting. This new policy means that young students from abroad who have studied here can stay and find work while ensuring that Canada meets our economy’s urgent needs for today and tomorrow. Our message to international students and graduates is simple: we don’t just want you to study here, we want you to stay here.”
—The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
- For each senior, there were 6.6 working-age individuals in 1971. There are recently 3 Canadian workers for every retired Canadian, but by 2035, there will be only two workers for every retiree. Younger Canadians will pay more per person to provide the same benefits without immigrants supporting an ageing population’s needs.
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada estimates that public policy could benefit as many as 52,000 graduates with expired or expiring PGWPs. Of the nearly 61,000 PGWP holders whose work permit expired between January and December 2020, approximately half have already become permanent residents or are in the process of applying for permanent residence.
- To apply for an open work permit under the mentioned public policy, the applicants must have a PGWP that expired on or after January 30, 2020, or a PGWP that will expire in 4 months or less from the date they apply
- Must be still, be in Canada
- Must have a valid temporary status, or be applying to restore the status
- Applications are opening from January 27 to July 27, 2021.
- The details related to how to apply will be added to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website on January 27, 2021.