On February 6, IRCC minister said he does not have a perfect solution on PGWP extension policy, but this is something that he is looking and working on.
International students with expired/expiring post graduate work permits (PGWPs) are in limbo without any news on extension or even a dedicated CEC draw so far.
However, an announcement from IRCC is expected to be in the month of March regarding PGWP extension.
Although, it is anticipated that we will see a CEC only draw in next couple of months, but still CRS cut off is quite high as compared to pre-pandemic scenario.
As a result, they either will have to leave Canada after soon to expire work permit statuses or opt for alternatives to extend their stay legally in Canada.
At this stage, kicks in the black market of LMIAs/job offers and malpractice for extensions. LMIAs are being sold for $15,000 to $20,000 or even higher.
Alternatively, expired PGWP holders may opt for another study course which in return will also cost the same.
International students who have studied in Canada for 1-2 years and then worked on post graduate work permit (PGWP) for 2-3 years must be retained by Canadian government.
They have already integrated in Canada on all aspects and contributed to economy by paying taxes. Only thing left is, getting a permanent status in Canada.
This has been putting a lot of stress on mental health of these youngsters with no clear path forward to permanent residency.
Federal government must act swiftly to retain this international talent; otherwise, Canada will lose its edge over other immigration friendly countries such as Australia.
IRCC Minister On Expiring PGWPs and High CRS Scores
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser was confronted by international students while going to make an announcement for Hong Kong residents on February 6, 2023.
He said that all of the post graduate work permit (PGWP) holders make best candidates for permanent residency (PR).
Furthermore, he acknowledged that PGWP holders are dealing with issues because of decisions made during the pandemic resulting in high CRS score in Express Entry.
Minister said, “We were into very similar challenge last year and we made an extension at that time. We are looking into different options right now to figure out what we can do to clear a pathway for people who are trying to stay in Canada that I think are gonna fill the essential roles in the economy.”
He further added, “I am aware of the issue. I don’t have an announcement today to make the extension. But I didn’t want you to think that you are not being heard, when you are reaching out on things.”
Fraser also said that retaining international talent is big part of Canada’s economic strategy and in his perspective it is right thing to do, but still no solution.
“I don’t have the perfect solution later for you today, but I want to reassure you that it is something that we are looking and working on now,” he said.
INC News Proposed Solutions For International Students/Work Permit Holders
Temporary measure: Canada immigration should renew the temporary policy allowing extension of expiring/expired post graduate work permits (PGWPs) between January 2023 to December 2023.
This temporary policy ended in December 2022 which allowed 18-month extension for expired PGWPs.
Permanent measure: There is a lot of work to be done in improving the way Canada offers pathway to permanent residency (PR).
International students must have a clear path to permanent residency (other than Express Entry or PNPs) as they are already integrated in the Canadian economy with Canadian study and work experience.
International students should have an option to extend their stay legally with an open work permit, until they get permanent residency (PR) status.
This can be done by introducing TR to PR pathway with set annual targets and using a better approach as compared to TR to PR during the pandemic.
It should not be first come first serve basis. IRCC should create a pool of candidates for TR to PR pathway and offer permanent residency (PR) based on years of experience.
There is no point of losing international talent educated and worked in Canada for 5 years.
International students at least have a clear vision that they will eventually become permanent residents with their work experience; even if they are not invited in any Express Entry or PNP or Pilot programs because of low scores.