The Canadian government has just announced major updates for foreign graduates and qualified candidates vying for employment and permanent residency in Canada, which is great news for international students navigating immigration in Canada.
In a statement issued on April 22, 2022, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that post-graduation work permit (PGWP) holders will be eligible for temporary work permits to help fill labour shortages caused by the pandemic.
“Starting in summer 2022, former international students who are in Canada and have a post-graduation work permit expiring between January and December 2022 will qualify for an additional open work permit of up to 18 months,” the statement read. “We are exploring a simplified, expeditious process for this, and details will be made available in the weeks ahead.”
The measure will make it easier for foreign graduates to enter the Canadian labour force in the midst of the country’s record-high inflation.
An estimated 95,000 PGWPs will expire between January 31 and December 21, 2022, and IRCC anticipates up to 50,000 applications as a result of the new temporary relocation. “Canada is a top destination for global talent. We need to use this fact to ensure that businesses and employers have access to the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed,” the statement explained, citing the need to fill vacancies across the country.
Along with the official statement, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced the continuation of the Express Entry draw for economic migrants under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). Express Entry is a point-based system that scores eligible candidates for PR status using a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) based on criteria such as education, work experience, language skills, and other factors.
Due to a growing backlog of immigration applications, Express Entry invitations have been temporarily halted since September of last year. In March 2022, the total number of applications had reached nearly two million, with applicants vying for citizenship, permanent residency, study permits, temporary work visas, and visitor visas. As per the statement, by 2021, more than 157,000 former students will have obtained permanent residency in Canada, with more than 88,000 coming directly from PGWP. To address the backlog of immigration applications in its system, IRCC has increased processing to double the number of PR decisions and work permits in the first quarter of 2022, compared to the same period last year.
From January 1 to March 31, 2022, over 113,000 newcomers were welcomed, and over 100,000 work permits were issued during that time. More applications for immigration to Canada are expected in the coming years. Earlier this month, the government unveiled the Immigration Levels Plan 2022-2024, a large-scale project to increase immigration to the country. The plan anticipates 431,645 newcomers this year, followed by 447,055 and 451,100 newcomers in 2023 and 2024, respectively.
According to a Statistics Canada report released in June 2021, international students who worked during or after their studies were more likely to obtain PR status (60 percent ). According to the report, three out of every ten international students who arrived in Canada after 2000 were able to obtain permanent residency within a decade of receiving their study permit for the first time. A separate report revealed even more good news for international students considering immigration to Canada: the annual median salary for PGWP holders nearly doubled between 2008 and 2018.
During this time period, nearly three-quarters of PGWP holders obtained permanent residency within five years of receiving their PGWP, indicating promising prospects for those planning to stay in the country long-term after finishing their studies.
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