New open work permits for PGWP and PR applicants
Canada has announced new access to open work permits for candidates with expired or expiring Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs). If your PGWP has expired or will expire soon, you may be eligible for an open work permit of up to 18 months.
The August 2 announcement also included new access to open work permits for Temporary Residence to Permanent Residence (TR to PR) Pathway candidates, whose applications are under processing.
Candidates may not apply for this work permit at a port of entry. All work permit applications for this public policy must be submitted online by December 31, 2022.
Open Work Permits for PGWP holders
Canada PGWP enables international students to gain Canadian work experience after their studies, for a maximum of three years. Candidates must have graduated from eligible Canadian designated learning institutions.
The government of Canada reiterates that international students bring so much to Canada. They contribute over $21 billion annually to the economy. They help in supporting the vitality of Canadian communities. Prior to the pandemic, in 2019 more than 58,000 graduates successfully applied to immigrate permanently to Canada.
The pandemic presented myriad challenges for international students. Many PGWP holders lost their jobs or saw their working hours cut. This made it impossible to accumulate, within the PGWP 3 years, the Canadian experience necessary for permanent residency.
“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 the urgent needs of our economy 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
The new special measures will give international students affected by COVID-19 another chance to gain the work experience they need to be eligible for Canadian permanent residence.
Effect of new Open Work Permits for expired PGWP holders
You may be eligible to get a one-time open work permit that allows you to work for up to 18 months if your post graduation work permit (PGWP) has expired or will expire between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2022 (inclusive).
To find out how to get your work permit, first answer a few questions on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
During the week of August 8, IRCC will begin sending out emails to let you know you can work temporarily in Canada while it is processing your open work permit. You will receive the IRCC interim work authorization email only if your PGWP expired or will expire between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2022.
The purpose of the interim work authorization email is to allow you to start working right away while you apply and wait for open work permit. IRCC expects that by the time your email permit expires, you should have a decision on your work permit application.
You can show the IRCC email to employers to prove that you can work in Canada until May 31, 2023, while you wait for a new open work permit.
Print and attach the IRCC interim work authorization email to your expired PGWP. Show it to your employer as proof that you can work in Canada. If your employer has questions about the email, show them the IRCC information at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
Not sure if you should apply or wait for IRCC to email you? Go and answer a few questions to find out how to get your open work permit.
In order to be able to use the IRCC email to work temporarily,
- You must be in Canada when you receive the email.
- Your PGWP must have expired or be expiring between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2022.
If you’re outside Canada: Note that you cannot use the email to travel to Canada and start working. However, you can still apply for a new open work permit of up to 18 months. Provided you’re eligible, and return to Canada if it is approved.
The IRCC email allows you to work under the same conditions that are on your PGWP.
IRCC guidance on new Open Work Permits for expired PGWP holders
IRCC has also provided five scenarios for how the new measures will affect applicants.
Scenario 1: Candidate’s PGWP expires between October 2, 2022, to December 31, 2022. Their address is up to date, and their passport is valid until April 2024.
These candidates do not need to do anything. “When you receive an email from IRCC to confirm your mailing address, don’t respond,” says IRCC. “An updated work permit will be sent to your mailing address by mid-October.
Scenario 2: Candidate’s PGWP expires from October 2, 2022, to December 31, 2022, but they need to update their address and/or passport validity.
You will receive an email from IRCC to confirm your mailing address. Follow the instructions to let officials know that it needs to be updated.
Candidates should check their passport validity and apply to extend it if it expires before April 2, 2024.
Your passport validity may not allow your work permit to be extended by 18 months. If so, you will not receive IRCC’s initial interim work authorization email. Instead you will receive a separate IRCC email in September.
In September candidates needing to will receive IRCC email on how to update their mailing address or passport information online. You will have 2 weeks to complete the update and get your new work permit in the mail by mid-November.
Scenario 3: Candidate’s PGWP expires from October 2, 2022, to December 31, 2022, but they are unable to update their address or passport validity.
You will need to apply to extend your work permit. You could receive a work permit extended to your passport expiration date. Alternatively, you could wait until after you renewed your passport.
Scenario 4: Candidate’s PGWP expires from October 2, 2022, to December 31, 2022, but IRCC didn’t contact them.
If you do not receive IRCC email by mid-September, you are not eligible for this new special process. This could be for another reason, such as new information about your admissibility to Canada that needs further review.
However, you may still file the standard application to extend your work permit.
Scenario 5: Candidate’s PGWP expired or will expire from September 20, 2021, to October 1, 2022.
You will need to apply for a work permit. Applications opened on August 2, 2022.
If you are in Canada with expired temporary status, you must apply to restore your status at the same time. Under the special measures, you are allowed to restore your status, even if it expired more than 90 days ago.
Work permits for TR to PR Pathway applicants
In May 2021 Canada launched a temporary, one-time pathway to permanent residency. The program targeted 90,000 foreign nationals already living in Canada (Temporary to Permanent Residence Pathway or TR to PR). The temporary policy received 84,177 applications prior to its closure on November 5, 2022.
The new special measures will allow TR to PR Pathway applicants to work while they wait for their TR-PR decision.
They can get an open work permit with end date of December 31, 2024. Provided that their passport is valid for that long.