Post-Graduate Worker Permit Holders Eligible for an Open Work Permit

On January 8, 2021, the Canadian government announced a short term public policy to assist certain international graduates of Canadian post-secondary institutions who have been impacted by COVID-19. The public policy will allow foreign nationals who hold Post Graduate Work Permits (“PGWP”) that expire on or after January 30, 2020 the ability to apply for an 18-month open work permit.

Foreign students graduating from certain programs at designated learning institutions are able to apply for a PGWP upon graduation. This permit is one-time use only, issued for up to three years depending on the length of program completed. Allowing foreign graduates the ability to extend this open-permit will provide more certainty and a cleaner pathway to Permanent Residence (“PR”). The Canadian government understands that like many Canadians, international graduates have also been significantly impacted, either losing employment or not securing employment at all. This temporary public policy will undoubtedly assist many in obtaining PR in Canada: in most instances, applicants for permanent residence need at least one year of full-time and highly skilled work experience before they are eligible to apply.   

In order to be eligible, the foreign graduate must meet the following criteria:

  • have a PGWP that expired on or after January 30, 2020 OR a PGWP that expires within four months from the date they apply;
  • be in Canada; and
  • have valid temporary status OR be eligible to apply for restoration of their current status. 

This application stream will be open from January 27, 2021 to July 27, 2021. 

If you have any questions about this matter, other COVID-19 related issues, or would like any other workplace law assistance, please contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.

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