June 13, 2023

Applying for Open Work Permit after Expired PGWP

International students who come to Canada for their education have a lot of opportunities to gain work experience in their field of study. One of the benefits of studying in Canada is the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program, which allows eligible international graduates to work in Canada for up to three years after completing their studies. However, the PGWP is non-renewable, and once it expires, PGWP holders must find another way to stay in Canada or leave the country. This can be a stressful and challenging time, especially for those who are in the process of applying for permanent residence in Canada.

But there's good news for those who are in this situation. Starting April 6, 2023, some current and former PGWP holders may be eligible for an 18-month Open Work Permit. This means that they will be able to work in any occupation and for any employer of their choice in Canada for up to 18 additional months. The benefit of obtaining this Open Work Permit is that it gives eligible individuals more time to potentially transition to permanent residence in Canada.


Overview of the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program:

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program is a government initiative that allows international students who have graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada to gain valuable work experience after completing their studies. The PGWP is an open work permit, which means that it allows graduates to work for any employer in Canada and in any occupation. This work experience can be used to gain permanent residency in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program.

The PGWP program is an excellent opportunity for international students to gain valuable work experience in Canada and enhance their skills and knowledge. It also provides them with an opportunity to explore the Canadian labor market and develop their career prospects. The length of the PGWP depends on the length of the program of study completed in Canada. Students who complete a program of study that is less than eight months in duration are not eligible for the PGWP program.


Eligibility for the Open Work Permit:

If you are a current or former PGWP holder whose work permit has expired or will expire soon, you may be eligible for the Open Work Permit. The application window will be open until December 31, 2023, so you have plenty of time to apply. To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Reside in Canada
  2. Confirm your passport information is up to date and has an expiration date of June 2025 or later
  3. Opt-in for up to an additional 18 months

If you meet these criteria, you can choose to opt into a simplified process to extend your work permit, apply to extend your work permit, or apply to restore your status and get a new work permit. Even if you are not eligible to opt-in, you can still apply for a work permit.

Simplified Extension Process:

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have recently sent emails to those who may be eligible for the simplified process to extend their work permits. Messages are arriving from an email address that ends in @cic.gc.ca or @notifications.canada.ca. If you have received this email, you must take action before May 20, 2023, and apply before your work permit expires.

To be eligible for the simplified process, you must log into your IRCC Secure Account to:

  1. Ensure that your mailing address is up to date
  2. Confirm your passport information is up to date and has an expiration date of June 2025 or later
  3. Opt-in for up to an additional 18 months

If you do not have an account, you will need to register for an IRCC Secure Account and link your most recent PGWP application to your account before May 20, 2023.


Benefits of the Open Work Permit:

The Open Work Permit extension is an excellent opportunity for those who want to continue working in Canada and gain more work experience. By working in Canada, you can strengthen your eligibility for Canadian permanent residence. Many of Canada's economic class immigration programs reward candidates who have Canadian work experience, as such experience helps support labor market integration upon gaining permanent residence.

Last year, Canada hosted an all-time record 800,000 international students. Almost 98,000 PGWP holders transitioned to permanent residence in 2022, accounting for nearly 82 percent of all temporary residents who transitioned to permanent residence. When announcing this special policy measure last month, IRCC noted there were over 286,000 PGWP holders in Canada at the end of last year, and an estimated 127,000 PGWPs will expire in 2023.


Applying for the Open Work Permit Extension:

If you are eligible for the Open Work Permit extension, there are a few steps you must follow to apply. The first step is to ensure that you have all the required documents and information. You will need to provide proof of your eligibility, including your current status and any relevant work experience or education. You will also need to provide a valid passport and any other necessary documents.

Next, you will need to fill out the application form and submit it to IRCC. The application form can be completed online or in paper format, depending on your preference. You will need to pay a processing fee, which varies depending on the type of application and the processing time.

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a confirmation of receipt from IRCC. This confirmation will include a unique application number, which you can use to track the status of your application online. You should expect to wait several weeks or months for a decision on your application, depending on the volume of applications being processed at the time.

If your application is approved, you will receive a new Open Work Permit that allows you to work in Canada for up to 18 months. This work permit will not be tied to a specific employer or occupation, giving you the freedom to work for any employer in any occupation you choose. You will also have the option to extend your work permit further or apply for permanent residence, depending on your long-term goals.


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