International students in Canada are having high hopes for another PGWP Extension 2024 policy just to allow them to continue to work because of limited permanent residency (PR) options.
There were nearly 2.2 million temporary residents in Canada at the end of the second quarter of 2023, out of which more than 1 million were on work permits.
This number has almost doubled in one year, from around 600,000 at the end of the second quarter of 2022.
Recently, Immigration Minister Marc Miller also acknowledged that international students should understand that there are limited permanent residency options.
Usually, PGWP is issued only once to international students after they graduate from a Canadian education institution without any room for extension.
However, Canada introduced a temporary PGWP extension policy during the COVID outbreak, allowing international students on postgraduate working permits to extend their status for 18 months.
This policy was then reintroduced in 2022 and 2023.
The most recent and currently active PGWP extension 2023 policy allows international students to extend their work permits for up to 18 months if their status has expired or is expiring prior to December 2023.
This also includes the previous international students who got their extension under the 2022 policy to benefit again with an additional 18-month work permit.
Need for PGWP Extension in 2024
PGWP must expire by December 2023 in order to be eligible for the 2023 extension policy.
On the other hand, permits for students in the same program and intake have different expiration dates.
This has led to a rift among the students, and some are not handled fairly or with due process when their PGWP expires in January 2024 or later.
Usually, international students depend on the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) category of Canada’s flagship permanent residency pathway, the Express Entry system.
IRCC used to hold CEC-specific rounds of invitations where international students with skilled experience of 1 year or more in Canada were the ideal candidates.
However, IRCC has not held any CEC-only rounds of invitations since September 2021 and has now switched to category-based draws.
Canada is currently having the highest number of temporary residents ever in the Canadian history.
As a result, international graduates are now facing high competition and limited options to transition to permanent residency (PR).
On October 27, 2023 Marc Miller announced that they will be reviewing the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) and better aligning it with regional and Francophone immigration objectives, as well as the demands of the Canadian labour market, in the coming months.
But meanwhile, international talent in Canada already supporting the economy needs to be retained with a new extension policy in 2024.
Will there be a PGWP Extension 2024 policy?
At this time, there is no official news or confirmation whether there will be another PGWP extension policy for work permits expiring in 2024.
However, international students are have high hopes for the Canadian immigration minister to reintroduce the PGWP extension policy again, giving them more time to stay and work in Canada.
Usually, IRCC does not announce such policies until the last moment or even after the expiration of a current policy.
The PGWP Extension 2023 policy was announced in March 2023, three months after the previous policy ended in December 2022.
However, IRCC did allow the international students whose PGWP expired and was also beyond the 90-day restoration period to benefit from the new 2023 policy.
Nothing definite can be said at this point in time about whether there will be a PGWP extension in 2024 or not, which is unfortunate but customary for IRCC to not communicate things in advance.
International students with expiring post-graduation work permits (PGWPs) at the beginning of 2024 should now start exploring alternative options to continue staying in Canada to be on the safe side.