Canada to Extend Work Permits to Former International Students

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The Government of Canada recognizes the huge social, cultural, and economic benefits that international students bring to Canada. Thus, the Canadian government has announced that former international students, whose work permits are expiring, will be offered the opportunity to work in Canada for another 18 months.

Every year, more and more students from around the world are choosing Canada to pursue their education. Canada is known for its diverse and inclusive society, high-quality educational institutions, and opportunities to work or immigrate after graduation. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is taking measures to help former international students with expired or expiring post-graduation work permits, and for the temporary resident to permanent resident pathway applicants.

Open work permits for individuals with expired or expiring post-graduation work permits

Foreign nationals who have post-graduation work permits that expire from September 20, 2021, to December 31, 2022, will be able to work in Canada for an extra 18 months. This can be done by either extending their work permit or applying for a new one. Those currently in Canada will also be able to work while their permit is being extended or a new one is being issued.

Ability to work in the interim

Beginning August 8, 2022, individuals holding post-graduation work permits that have expired or will expire from September 20, 2021, to December 31, 2022, will receive an email confirming that they are allowed to work in the interim.

Recipients who are eligible for the additional 18-month work period can use this email attachment as proof to their employers that they are authorized to work temporarily in Canada. This is a one-time measure put into effect to make sure those eligible can either stay working or return to the workforce while they apply for a new work permit. The interim work period will last until May 31, 2023.

Work permits for applicants to TR to PR pathways

Applicants who are part of the temporary resident to permanent resident (TR to PR) pathways, and whose permanent residence application has not yet been approved, are eligible to apply for an open work permit. This assures that they will not lose their status or capacity to work while their permanent residency application is being processed.

– Recognizing that the processing of TR to PR applications would take some time, those applying for an open work permit can now get one with an end date of December 31, 2024, as long as their passport is valid until then.

– Applicants whose passports expire before December 31, 2024, will not receive email and will be ineligible to extend the duration of their present work permit under the exceptional measure. They are still entitled to apply for a longer work permit, either to match the date their passport expires or to apply after they have replaced their passport.

– If the individual has to amend their mailing address, or if they opt-out of receiving an open work permit through this process, they will no longer be eligible for the special measure. They will be required to apply online.

This is a very positive step for many former international students who have studied in Canada and obtained their permits but were unable to fully utilize their work authorization due to the circumstances of the pandemic and other delays. While many students are already interested in staying and settling in Canada, there are often hurdles due to the limited timeline so this temporary extension for specific holders is beneficial for many students who like to continue to expand their careers.