This error could be a perfect example of IRCC internal poor communication as well as applicants “jumping the gun” to apply sooner.
However, there has not been any official confirmation and immigration applications could vary case-to-case.
IRCC has now updated the instructions for PGWP extension policy. New extension of the PGWP will be applicable from IRCC “approval date” of the extension.
So, if your PGWP is expiring in 3 months and your request for an extension is approved by IRCC, you will only get an additional 15 months of extension.
Now IRCC instructions for PGWP extension are “up to 18 months from extension approval date by IRCC” NOT “additional 18 months from date of expiry of your PGWP.”
We suggest our readers to not apply too early for the extension to maximize the benefit of this new PGWP extension.
We have reached out to a former IRCC employee for their input and are writing this article because a lot of our readers reached out seeking information on this error.
What is PGWP Extension Error?
They received a PGWP extension with an expiration date that was 18 months from the IRCC approval date rather than 18 months from the PGWP’s original expiration date.
This error is currently being reported by eligible PGWP extension applicants receiving an extension, who are eligible for opt-in(streamlined) process.
Such a technical glitch or error also happened when IRCC tried to speed up processing post pandemic for visitor record/extension.
Visitor visa applicants from within Canada were receiving work permits, while work permit applicants were receiving visitor visa.
Effect of PGWP Extension Error
Certain PGWP holders applied for the extension excess in time to ensure that they do not miss out the opportunity of extension.
They wanted to secure their open work permit status on the safe side as per the policy commentary.
And, this is perfectly fine and ideal step when applying for any of the IRCC policy to make sure that you factor in IRCC processing delays.
However, this early opt-in for PGWP extension turned against them and resulted in losing PGWP time (in multiple of months) just by applying prior to expiry of their existing PGWP.
Individuals having a PGWP expiry in October 2023 applied in April 2023 as soon as the policy opened.
They were seeking an extension of 18 months starting from October 2023. Unfortunately, PGWP holders reported that they got the 18-month extension starting from April 2023 dates.
As a result, they lost the PGWP time between the IRCC approval and their previous PGWP expiry date.
Why did PGWP Extension Error happen?
Major reason (being from a corporate background) is communication error. And this has been quite common in case of IRCC.
It is clear that PGWP extension policy instructions were not accurately transformed into instructions for the IRCC employee.
One of the former IRCC employee (not disclosed) said that he can speculate that as we quote,“IRCC released the policy and might have expected that PGWP expiring later in the year (2023) will not apply now.”
“Staff might have been instructed to just select the approval date from among all the multiple drop down sections required to be selected, to approve the PGWP extensions.”
“Or IRCC system might not just have added the option of approving the PGWP extension from the date of expiry. As a result, IRCC staff might have just selected the option they have” he further added.
What could have IRCC done better?
Dissecting further, IRCC could have created the instruction of 30-90 days in the eligibility to apply for PGWP extension 2023.
They could have simply included that eligible individuals must apply at least prior to 30 days of their existing PGWP expiry.
This would have helped avoiding flooding of extension applications and clarity to PGWP holders avoiding any errors as well as clear instructions.
What are new PGWP extension policy instructions?
The PGWP extension policy instructions have recently been amended by IRCC. The new extension of the PGWP will take effect as of the extension’s “approval date” by the IRCC.
Therefore, if the IRCC grants your request for an extension and your PGWP is set to expire in 3 months, then you will only receive an extra 15 months of extension.