International graduates with expired or soon-to-expire work permits will be allowed to apply for an extension as the federal government looks to boost Canada’s anemic labor sector.
Starting April 6, graduates with a recently expired or expiring Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) will qualify for an additional or extended work permit to stay in Canada and have up to 18 months of job experience, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser made the announcement on Friday. Currently, around 127,000 post-graduation work permits are due to expire in 2023.
“We must use every tool in our toolbox to support employers who continue to face challenges hiring workers,” Fraser said in a media release. “At the same time, we are providing international graduates whose work permits are expiring or have expired with some additional time to remain in Canada so that they can gain valuable work experience and potentially prepare to become permanent residents.” be eligible.”
The PGWP program allows international graduates to obtain an Open Work Permit to gain work experience in Canada. From 6 April, PGWP holders who wish to stay longer will be able to initiate a voluntary process to extend their work permits.
International graduates whose permits have already expired in 2023 will also be able to apply for an additional 18-month work permit. So were people 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 by extending their work permit or by applying for a new one.
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 waiting for their applications to be processed.
This policy update comes at a time when employers across Canada are struggling to attract and retain skilled workers amid continuing labor shortages. Experts have attributed that shortfall partly to disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but mostly to an aging workforce.
Canadian labor force growth rate The decline has been occurring since 2000, Statistics Canada reports, but the trend has accelerated in recent years as baby boomers – Canada’s largest generation, born between 1946 and 1964 – grew up and regrouped the workforce. started to leave.
According to StatCan, more than 1.4 million Canadians will enter the 55 and older demographic between 2016 and 2021. In 2022, the number of working Canadians between 55 and 64 will reach an all-time high in Canadian census history, at one in five. By the second quarter of that year, there were over one million open positions in Canada.
In Friday’s announcement, the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship said skilled international graduates “play an important role in addressing Canada’s labor shortage.” But experts warn need more change To ensure that newcomers to Canada are well matched to jobs that maximize their skills, qualifications and experience.
StatCan data shows that recent immigrants are less likely to see their skills and education used than Canadian-born workers. They are also over-represented in certain industries, including transportation and warehousing, and accommodation and food services.
With files from the Canadian Press