Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced details of a long-awaited extension policy for Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holders that will allow many expired permit holders to re-enter the workforce.
The initial announcement of an 18-month extension for expired or expiring work permits was made in April and declared applications would open in mid-June, but no further details have been released.
Many former international students whose PGWP has expired in the meantime have had to quit their jobs while awaiting details on how to extend their permits.
RELATED: Expired Post-Graduation Work Permit Holders Demand Answers on Extension
On Tuesday, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser said on Twitter: “Today we are launching extensions for post-graduation work permits that expire or are due to expire from September 20, 2021 to December 31, 2022. This includes automatic renewals. for some and temporary work permits for all, so that people can return to work sooner.
Those whose permits have expired or are expiring within the timeframes mentioned above can work in Canada for an additional 18 months by extending their current work permit or applying for a new one under this special measure.
IRCC says applicants will be allowed to work pending processing of extension documents and will receive an email confirming this on August 8.
“Recipients can attach this email to their post-graduation work permit to show an employer that they are authorized to work temporarily in Canada,” IRCC says on its website. The interim work period will be in effect until May 31, 2023.
IRCC advises that if a person’s immigration status in Canada has expired, this email will not restore their status. They must apply for the restoration of their status at the same time as they apply for a new work permit.
Under 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 reinstatement even if the 90 days have passed.
The new policy will affect PGWP holders in different ways, depending on the expiry date of their work permit, the validity of their passport and other factors:
- If your PGWP will expire between October 2 and December 31, your address on file is up-to-date, and your passport is valid until April 2024, you don’t need to do anything.
“When you receive an email from IRCC to confirm your mailing address, do not respond. An updated work permit will be sent to your mailing address by mid-October,” the IRCC says.
- 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 that 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 IRCC.
- Work permits can only be extended up to the validity date of your passport. If your passport is not valid enough to extend your work permit for the full 18 months allowed, you will not receive the initial mailing address confirmation email. You will receive a separate email in September. The IRCC suggests that to ensure you can take full advantage of this special measure, check the validity of your passport and request its extension if it expires before April 2, 2024.
- If your PGWP will expire between October 2 and December 31 but you will not be able to update your address or passport validity, you will need to apply online to extend your work permit. “You could receive an extended work permit until your passport expires or you could wait until you renew your passport to submit your application,” the IRCC suggests.
- If your PGWP has already expired or will expire in the period from September 20, 2021 to October 1, 2022, you will need to apply online for a work permit – applications open on August 2.
If you are in Canada and your temporary immigrant status has expired, you must apply for restoration of your status at the same time and you can do so even if it expired more than 90 days ago. If you have left Canada, you can apply from abroad and return once you have been approved.
- If your PGWP will expire between October 2 and 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 it could be for another reason « such as information has been added to your file regarding your admissibility to Canada that will require further review ». However, you can still apply online to extend your work permit.
All applications under this special measure must be submitted online and cannot be made at a port of entry.
Click here for more information on the special measure announced on Tuesday.