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PGWP: Canada to allow extensions by 18 months

International graduates with expiring or soon-to-expire work permits will be allowed to apply for extensions as the federal government looks to boost Canada’s anemic labor sector.

Starting April 6, graduates with a recently expired or completed Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) will receive an additional or extended work permit to stay in Canada and gain work experience for up to 18 months, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced Friday. There are currently about 127,000 post-graduate work permits scheduled through 2023.

“We need to use every tool in our toolbox to support employers who continue to face the challenges of hiring the workers they need to grow,” Fraser said in a press release. “At the same time, we are providing international graduates whose work permits are expiring or have expired, additional time to stay in Canada to gain valuable work experience and potentially qualify for permanent residency.”

The PGWP program allows international graduates to obtain an open work permit to gain work experience in Canada. Starting April 6, PGWP holders who wish to stay longer will be able to begin a voluntary process to renew their work permit.

International graduates whose permits have already expired in 2023 will also be able to apply for an additional 18-month work permit. So are those who were eligible for the 2022 PGWP facilitation measure; a policy change that allowed foreign nationals whose permits expired between September 20, 2021 and December 31, 2022. apply for an additional 18 months either renewing their work permit or applying for a new permit.

International graduates with expired work permits will be able to reinstate their status under the latest policy change, even if they are beyond the 90-day reinstatement period. Applicants will be allowed to work while they wait for their application to be processed.

The policy update comes as employers across Canada struggle to attract and retain skilled workers amid ongoing labor shortages. Experts attribute the shortfall in part to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but mostly to an aging workforce.

of Canada labor force growth rates Statistics Canada has been in decline since 2000, but the trend has picked up in recent years as baby boomers, Canada’s largest generation born between 1946 and 1964, grow up and begin to leave the workforce in droves.

According to StatCan, more than 1.4 million Canadians aged 55 and over entered between 2016 and 2021. In 2022, the number of working-age Canadians aged 55 to 64 is the highest in Canadian census history. in the fifth one. In the second quarter of that year, there were more than a million job vacancies in Canada.

The Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said in a statement Friday that skilled international graduates “play a vital role in addressing Canada’s labor shortage.” However, experts have warned more changes are needed to ensure that new Canadians are well-suited to jobs that maximize their skills, qualifications and experience.

StatCan data shows that recent immigrants are less likely to see their skills and education improved than Canadian-born workers. They are also overrepresented in some industries, including transportation and warehousing, as well as accommodation and food services.

– With Canadian press files

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