According to a study by Statistics Canada, international students have become a more important source of labour in the Canadian economy over the last decade.

According to a recent Statistics Canada study, the large growth in the number of international students arriving in Canada in recent years has resulted in greater involvement in the PGWPP.

According to the report, the number of first-time study permit holders in Canada has increased steadily over the last decade, rising from roughly 75,000 in the mid-2000s to 250,000 in 2019.

Following this trend, an increasing number of international students have enrolled in the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) and received a work permit after graduation.

The PGWPP is a temporary worker programme that allows international students who have completed post-secondary education in Canada to apply for an open work permit to stay and work in the country. Candidates must have completed an eight-month programme of study at an accredited Canadian institution to be considered for the programme.

The permit is then granted for up to three years, depending on the length of the finished study programme.

The post-graduation work visa, as an open work permit, allows overseas graduates to work in any occupation and change employers at any time.

According to the study, the annual number of new Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holders increased sixfold from 10,300 to 64,700 between 2008 and 2018.

This growth was seen in both men and women during the same time period, however men accounted for a higher share of PGWP holders.

Since 2008, China and India have accounted for 51% of all PGWP holders, but by 2018, these two source countries had accounted for 66 percent of all issued PGWPs. Furthermore, the percentage of international students from India increased by more than fourfold, from 10% in 2008 to 46% in 2018. China, on the other hand, showed the opposite pattern, dropping from 41% to 20% in the same time period.

In 2008, Ontario attracted 44 percent of overseas students as a career destination, and this number has since risen to 56 percent in 2018. Between 2008 and 2018, the percentage of people planning to visit British Columbia and Quebec, the other two most popular locations, has fallen.

In terms of PGWP holders’ labour market engagement, the study finds that in 2008, 10,300 PGWP holders filed positive T4 tax returns. By 2018, it had risen to 135,100. According to the report, median wages of PGWP holders with job income climbed from $14,500 (in 2018 USD) in 2008 to $26,800 in 2018, showing increased labour market input.

In addition, nearly three-quarters of all PGWP holders moved to permanent residency within five years after acquiring their PGWP, according to the report. PGWP holders had the highest transition rates for college and master’s level programmes, notably among the more recent cohorts.

The report finds that these data underline the PGWPP’s importance to both international students and the Canadian economy.

“On the one hand, the PGWPP allows international students who have completed a recognised Canadian post-secondary institution to earn work experience in Canada, which can be used to qualify for several permanent residence streams.”

The PGWPP bridges the gap between a Canadian education and in-country work experience, increasing the likelihood of getting permanent residence in Canada through the federal Express Entry system. Express Entry candidates with a Canadian degree and work experience score higher on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), enhancing their chances of acquiring permanent resident status. Other immigration streams that favour candidates with a Canadian degree and work experience include the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ), both of which are for people who have studied in Quebec.

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