As of April 6, 2023, those who are currently or formerly on a Post- Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) could be eligible for an 18 month Open Work Permit. Those who wish to apply will have until December 31, 2023. The benefit for this Open Work Permit is that it grants the individual the ability to work any job and for any employer in Canada for up to 18 additional months. As per IRCC, eligible candidates will be able to:
  • opt into a simplified process to extend their work permit, or
  • apply to extend their work permit, or
  • apply to restore their status and get a new work permit
Even if a candidate is not eligible to opt in, they can still apply for a work permit. See IRCC website for more information on this opportunity. IRCC has emailed those who may be eligible for the process to extend their work permit. The message comes from an email that ends in or IRCC notes that such individuals must take action before May 20, 2023 and apply before their work permit expires. To be eligible for the simplified process, you must: 1) Reside in Canada 2) Log into your IRCC Secure Account to:
  • ensure that your mailing address is up to date
  • confirm your passport information is up to date and has an expiration date of June 2025 or later, and
  • opt in for up to an additional 18 months
If you do not have an account, you will need to register for an IRCC Secure Account and link your most recent PGWP application to your account before May 20, 2023. About the Open Work Permit extension: Recently, Canada’s Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser announced that the IRCC would enable those who are eligible as former or current PGWP holders access to a new Open Work Permit. Typically a PGWP is non-renewable, and those with an expiring PGWP would have to find another way to remain in the country or leave. However, Fraser indicated the purpose of this initiative will help employers in Canada address their labour shortages and provide PGWP holders time to potentially consider permanent residency. PGWPs allow eligible international graduates to work for up to 3 years after they complete their studies in the country. The ultimate length of the PGWP depends on the length of the completed program of study.  PGWPs are of high interest as they allow graduates to build their eligibility for permanent residency. Majority of Canada’s economic class immigration programs reward candidates who have Canadian work experience since Stats Canada shows the experience supports the labour market integration upon gaining permanent residence. This shows why Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Program, and other economic class pathways provide more points and or dedicated streams to those with experience in Canada. In 2022, Canada hosted a record 800,000 international students. Nearly 98,000 PGWP holders transitioned to permanent residence last year, accounting for over 80% of all temporary residents who transitioned to PR. When this announcement was made, IRCC suggested there were over 286,000 PGWP holders in Canada at the end of 2022. The department estimates nearly 127,000 PGWPs will expire in 2023. However approximately 67,000 PGWP holders have already applied for PR, and would not need to apply for a new Open Work Permit.