Recently, on December 7, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) shared important updates about Canada’s international student program.
One key announcement is that there will be no PGWP Extension in 2024 for international students in Canada.
In the past, IRCC granted three extensions to PGWP holders due to challenges in the job market caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This allowed them to keep working in Canada when there were delays in processing and Express Entry draws were temporarily halted.
The last extension occurred on April 6, and it’s valid for 18 months for PGWP holders whose permits expire on or before December 31, 2023. IRCC emphasizes that those whose permits expire by this date are still eligible for this extension.
PGWPs allow international students to stay and work in Canada after completing their studies. Normally, the permit is valid for up to three years, depending on the length of the academic program, and is not usually renewable.
In 2022, 98,000 PGWP holders became permanent residents, making up nearly 82% of all temporary residents who gained permanent residency that year. IRCC estimates that in 2023, there will be 268,000 PGWP holders in Canada, and 127,000 permits will expire.
How Does This Affect Express Entry Candidates?
If you’re a PGWP holder in Canada and want to become a permanent resident through Express Entry, there are some important things to know. As your PGWP expiration date gets closer, you might worry about the possibility of not getting an extension.
If you haven’t received an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and your PGWP is expiring, you could lose your right to work in Canada. The pause in Express Entry draws from October 26 to December 6 has added stress for PGWP holders.
Without an ITA, they can’t apply for permanent resident status while waiting for their application to be processed.
Even though IRCC conducted three Express Entry draws between December 6 and December 8, it’s crucial to note that two of them were for specific categories like French-language proficiency and STEM occupations.
The all-program draw on December 6 invited 4,750 candidates with a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 561, which is higher than in previous draws.
What to Do If Your PGWP is Expiring
However, it’s possible that candidates might need to stop working while waiting for an ITA and for IRCC to process their application.
1. Visitor Record:
Apply for a visitor record at least 30 days before your PGWP expires. This allows you to stay in Canada for up to six months, though the duration can vary.
2. Apply for Another Work Permit:
While waiting for an Express Entry draw, you can apply for a new work permit. This might take time and involve additional costs.
If you want to keep working, you can explore options for a different type of Open Work Permit.
3. If You’ve Submitted a PR Application:
BOWPs allow PR candidates to keep working in Canada while waiting for the final decision.