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Feds announce long-awaited post-grad work permit extension policy

The initial announcement for an 18-month extension for expired or expiring work permits was made in April and stated applications would open mid-June, but no further details were released.
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Canadian flag. (Wikipedia)

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced details on a long-awaited extension policy for post-graduation work permit (PGWP) holders that will allow many with expired permits to rejoin the workforce.

The initial announcement for an 18-month extension for expired or expiring work permits was made in April and stated applications would open mid-June, but no further details were released.

Many former international students whose PGWP expired in the interim period since then have had to quit their jobs while waiting on details on how to extend their permits.

On Tuesday, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser said on Twitter, “Today, we’re launching extensions of expired or expiring post-graduation work permits from September 20, 2021, to December 31, 2022. This includes auto-renewals for some and interim work authorizations for all, so that individuals can get back to work sooner.”

Those whose permits have or are expiring within the dates mentioned above can work in Canada for an additional 18 months by either extending their current work permit or applying for a new one under this special measure.

IRCC says applicants will be allowed to work while waiting for extension paperwork to process and they will get an email confirming this on Aug. 8.

“Recipients can attach this email to their post-graduation work permit to show an employer they are authorized to work temporarily in Canada,” says the IRCC on their website. The interim work period will be in effect until May 31, 2023.

The IRCC says if an individual’s immigration status in Canada has expired, this email will not restore their status. They must apply to restore their status at the same time that they apply for a new work permit.

As per normal procedure, once a person’s status has expired, they have 90 days to restore it, but those eligible for a work-permit extension under this special measure can apply for restoration even if the 90 days have lapsed.

The new policy will affect PGWP holders in different ways, depending on when their work permit expires, the validity of their passport and other factors:

  • If your PGWP is going to expire between October 2 and December 31, your address on file is up to date and your passport is valid through to April 2024, you don’t need to do anything.
    “When you receive an email from IRCC to confirm your mailing address, don’t respond. An updated work permit will be sent to your mailing address by mid-October,” says the IRCC.
  • If your PGWP is going to expire between October 2 and December 31 and you need to update your mailing address, follow the instructions in the email IRCC sends you to let them know your address needs to be updated. You will then receive an email in September on how to update your mailing address.
  • There is a two-week window to update your mailing address and/or passport information in your online account after you receive the email with instructions in September. “If you update this information, you will receive an updated work permit in the mail by mid-November,” says the IRCC.
  • Work permits can only be extended until the date your passport is valid. If your passport validity does not allow your work permit to be extended for the full 18 months allowable, you will not receive the initial email regarding confirmation of mailing address. You will receive a separate email in September. The IRCC suggests that to ensure you can take full advantage of this special measure, check your passport validity and apply to extend it if it expires before April 2, 2024.
  • If your PGWP is going to expire between October 2 and December 31 but you won’t be able to update your address or passport validity, you will need to apply online to extend your work permit. “You could receive a work permit extended to your passport expiration date or you could wait to apply until you have renewed your passport,” suggests the IRCC.
  • If your PGWP has already expired or will expire within the period from September 20, 2021 to October 1, 2022, you will need to apply online for a work permit – applications open August 2.
    If you’re in Canada and your temporary immigration status has expired, you must apply to restore status at the same time and can do so even if it expired more than 90 days ago. If you have left Canada, you can apply from abroad and return to the country once you have been approved.
  • If your PGWP will expire between October 2 to December 31 but you have not been contacted by IRCC by mid-September, you are not eligible to have your work permit extended under this new policy. The IRCC says this could be for another reason “such as information has been added to your file about your admissibility to Canada that will need further review.” However, you may still apply online to extend your work permit.

All applications under this special measure must be submitted online and cannot be done at a port of entry.

Click here for more information about the special measure announced Tuesday.

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