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New Post-Graduate Work Permit Extension Measure Announced

By Brendan Sheridan 

While COVID-19 restrictions have been easing throughout Canada for the past several months, many foreign workers and international students are still feeling its effects. In particular, individuals who were on post-graduate work permits over the past two years may have lost opportunities to gain valuable Canadian work experience as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions. In recognition of these lost opportunities and the social, cultural, and economic benefits that international students bring to Canada, the Government of Canada announced new measures allowing certain foreign nationals with expired or expiring post-graduate work permits to apply for extensions of their post-graduate work permits.

Per an August 2, 2022 notice from the Government of Canada, individuals will be able to apply to extend their work permit (or apply for a new work permit) authorizing their work in Canada for up to an additional 18 months if they hold post-graduation work permits (“PGWPs”) that have expired or will expire between September 20, 2021 and December 31, 2022. Foreign nationals in Canada must have maintained their temporary resident status or be eligible for restoration of status to apply for this special measure.

Note: If an applicant’s passport expires in fewer than 18 months, they will only be issued a work permit valid to their passport expiration date.

Process to Apply for Special Measure – Post-Graduate Work Permit Extension

Each applicant must follow different instructions to apply for this special measure depending on whether their post-graduation work permit is expired or the date when it will be expiring:

  1. The individual’s PGWP expires during the period from October 2, 2022 to December 31, 2022, their address is up to date, and their passport is valid through April 2024.

What to do: Nothing. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) will send the individual an email to confirm their mailing address. This email does not require a response. An updated work permit will be sent to their mailing address by mid-October.

  1. The individual’s PGWP expires during the period from October 2, 2022 to December 31, 2022, but they need to update their address and/or passport validity.

What to do: Follow the email instructions. IRCC will send the individual an email by September that provides instructions on how to update their mailing address and/or their passport validity. These instructions must be acted upon within two weeks. Once the updates are made, a new work permit will be sent to their mailing address by mid-November. Applicants may want to update their passports proactively if they fall under this category.

  1. The individual’s PGWP expires during the period from October 2, 2022 to December 31, 2022, but they will be unable to update their address and/or passport validity.

What to do: Apply online. The individual will need to apply online to extend their work permit. The extension can be issued to coincide with their passport expiration date. Otherwise, they will need to wait until they have renewed their passport.

  1. The individual’s PGWP expires during the period from October 2, 2022 to December 31, 2022, but the IRCC did not contact them.

What to do: Apply online. If the individual does not receive an email from the IRCC by mid-September, it means they are not eligible for an extension through this special process for another reason (e.g. questions about admissibility) and will need apply online to extend their work permit.

  1. The individual’s PGWP expired or will expire during the period from September 20, 2021 to October 1, 2022.

What to do: Apply online. The individual will need to apply online for a work permit. If their temporary status in Canada has also expired, they will need to apply to restore their status at the same time. They will be allowed to restore their status under this special measure even if more than 90 days has passed since their status expired.

Interim Authorization to Work

In addition to the 18-month extension, foreign nationals with post-graduation work permits that have expired or will expire from September 20, 2021, to December 31, 2022 will receive an email from IRCC confirming that they are authorized to work in the interim while they apply for a new work permit. This interim authorization to work is in effect until May 31, 2023.

This email confirming interim work authorization only allows applicants to work while awaiting their new work permit. It does not restore a foreign national’s immigration status in Canada. If an applicant is out of status, they must still apply to restore their status when they apply for their new work permit.

Cost of Application

The Government of Canada also released instructions to apply for this open work permit, which must be done on or before December 31, 2022. One key point to highlight is that, while applicants under this special measure are exempt from paying the open work permit holder fee of $100, they must still pay the work permit processing fee of $155.

This update is intended for general information only. If you have further questions about these programs or are an employer seeking to support your workers, please contact a member of our Immigration Group.

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