As the country recovers from the COVID-19 outbreak, the Canadian government has proposed additional steps to alleviate the labour shortage.

According to a press release from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), immigration is more vital than ever before in helping companies fill hundreds of thousands of positions throughout the country.

At a press conference in Saint John, New Brunswick, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Sean Fraser announced, among other things, a new temporary policy that allows international students with expiring temporary status to stay in Canada and gain work experience, increasing their chances of becoming eligible for permanent residency.

Former foreign students who are still in Canada and have a post-graduation work permit that expires between January and December of this year may be eligible for an extra open work visa valid for up to 18 months starting this summer.

“Immigration will be critical to alleviating our labour shortage, and these measures aim to address pressing needs in all sectors across the country, while also providing more opportunities for recent graduates and other applicants to build their lives in Canada and contribute to our short- and long-term prosperity,” Fraser said.

According to the IRCC, competent overseas students play a critical role in alleviating labour shortages, and those whose post-graduation work permits are about to expire are already integrated into Canada’s job market, contributing to critical industries.

“This additional open work permit will allow candidates to contribute to the Canadian economy while acquiring significant job experience and creating their Express Entry profiles,” according to the press release.

According to a statement on the government’s website, the new temporary measure will benefit about 50,000 applicants because approximately 95,000 post-graduation work permits will expire between January 31 and December 31, 2022, while many students with expiring work permits have transitioned to permanent residence, applied for permanent residence, or successfully applied for another work permit.

Every year, tens of thousands of overseas graduates become permanent residents in Canada, according to official statistics. Last year, 157,000 former students became permanent residents, with over 88,000 of them going straight from a post-graduation work visa to permanent residency.

For students enrolled in PGWP-eligible programmes in progress in March 2020, as well as those who started or will start PGWP-eligible programmes in spring 2020 and this summer, Canada has announced several revisions to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWPP) eligibility requirements.

These students must meet the following requirements in order to be eligible for a post-graduation work permit:

  • Possess a study permit
  • Have approval for a study permit
  • Have applied for a study permit before the beginning of their program and have eventually received an approval

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