New PGWP

We cannot take credit for the news from IRCC that international students who have expired Post Graduation Work Permits (PGWP) will be able to apply for a new Work Permit starting 27 JAN 2021. This is very good news and it will help many clients. When I gave testimony to the parliamentary committee in NOV 2020, this was my testimony:

My third point relates to applicants in Provincial Nominee Programs. Many of these individuals are able to apply for Permanent Resident status based on their education and work experience in Canada. Once these workers receive PGWPtheir Nomination Certificate, they can apply for a bridging Work Permit that is restricted to their employer. This pandemic has resulted in many lay-offs and it has caused severe hardship. In my view, these Work Permits should be less restricted to avoid many issues, including potential problems with flag polling. For example, a NOC B worker could be allowed to accept a different NOC B position without having to obtain a new Work Permit. Similarly, I also urge more flexibility with Post Graduate Work Permits. They should not be limited to one PGWP per student.

It seems that IRCC may have listened. This is very good news.

There are 3 requirements for this new PGWP program:

  1. The Applicant must have a PGWP that expired on or after 30 JAN 2020, OR a PGWP that is going to expire in 4 months or less from the date of application;
  2. The Applicant must be physically present in Canada; and,
  3. The Applicant must have temporary status or be eligible to restore their status through a Restoration application.

During this pandemic, students and workers have been seriously affected. As the Minister said in his statement:

Our message to international students and graduates is simple: we don’t just want you to study here, we want you to stay here.

It is, of course, nice to see this remark from the Minister. Unfortunately, this statement is not consistent with the decisions by Visa Officers around the world. Too often, Visa Officers refuse Study Permit applications on the basis they believe the applicant will not return to their home country at the end of their study period. So which is it? Does Canada want to make sure they go back? Or, following Minister Mendicino’s comments, does Canada want them to stay?