Work permit program change is great news for international students and Canadian employers
The PGWP is an open work permit that can be used to gain Canadian work experience, a valuable asset in obtaining permanent resident (PR) status in Canada.
Gaining work experience in Canada helps candidates successfully qualify for several immigration programs, including Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).
Express Entry is Canada’s primary immigration pathway to PR and it works on a points-based system that takes into account human capital factors. Work experience in Canada gives those who use this route more benefits towards their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), making them more competitive in comparison with other potential candidates.
Those with a degree and Canadian work experience will also have a better opportunity of success when applying under the PNPs or, in the event of having studied in Quebec, under the Quebec Experience Program (or PEQ).
Beyond its importance to international students, Canadian employers also benefit significantly from PGWPs. Typically, to hire a foreign national, Canadian employers must go through a long and expensive process known as a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), an application they must submit to prove that they have tried to hire a Canadian but have been unable to do so. However, this is not required for individuals with an open work permit, such as PGWP holders. Open Work Permit holders therefore often provide Canadian employers with the opportunity to retain much-needed foreign talent without the burdens and barriers usually associated with this process.
The process of hiring someone on a PGWP may not require much legwork on the part of the employer, yet the same cannot be said if the employer would like the foreign national to continue working beyond the date of the PGWP’s expiry. Work permits have a limited duration and this is where the problem with the PGWP often lies.
On January 8, 2021, the Canadian government introduced a new policy that will allow former international students with an expired or expiring PGWP to apply for a new open work permit.
The new policy will allow individuals who meet the following conditions to apply for an 18-month open work permit:
– have a PGWP that expired on or after January 30, 2020, or a PGWP that expires in 4 months or less from the date of application;
– be in Canada;
– have a valid temporary status or be applying to restore your status.
– The application process is set to open tomorrow, January 27, and will run until July 27, 2021.
This policy change will enable many Canadian employers who employ foreign nationals on a PGWP to do so without going in a long process as mentioned before.
For many Canadian employers benefiting from foreign talent, this means that they will not need to compromise the quality of their labor force as a result of Canadian immigration constraints. Being able to keep on the workers they need, regardless of nationality or immigration status, will prove invaluable for many Canadian companies and the Canadian economy as a whole.