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PGWP holders are eligible for an open work permit in Canada.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced a new temporary policy on April 22 that will allow international graduate students to stay in Canada for longer periods of time.

International student graduates in Canada who have a Post-Graduation Work Visa (PGWP) that expires between January and December 2022 may be eligible for an additional open work permit for up to 18 months starting this summer. Under normal circumstances, the PGWP cannot be expanded or renewed.

This announcement is part of a larger initiative to allow PGWP holders to stay in Canada for extended periods of time, gain marketable skills, and improve their chances of obtaining permanent status. Due to the suspension in Express Entry draws for Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates since September, a number of PGWP holders whose permits are about to expire are being compelled to seek for a new work permit, abandon their jobs, or leave the country.

Approximately 95,000 PGWPs will expire in 2022, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and an estimated 50,000 persons will benefit from this approach.

The announcement coincides with Fraser’s unveiling of a raft of policies aimed at assisting low-income immigrants. In particular, Express Entry drawings for skilled workers, such as CEC and FSWP candidates, will restart in July.

In recent months, the IRCC has increased its processing capacity. Canada has handled over 100,000 work permit applications in the first quarter of 2022, more than double the number processed in the same period last year.

Over 157,000 former students became permanent residents last year, with over 88,000 of them going straight from a PGWP to permanent residency.

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