Important updates for FSWC & CEC candidates and PGWP holders
On April 22, 2022, Sean Fraser (Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship) announced that, commencing July 2022, Canada will resume making Express Entry draws for qualifying candidates in the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
This is extremely good news. There have been no FSWC candidates invited to apply for permanent residence since December 2020, and there have been no CEC candidates invited to apply since September 2021. While the FSWC candidates can be located here in Canada or abroad, the temporary pause on the CEC candidates is especially stressful, since some of these candidates are working in Canada on a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP).
A PGWP is an open work permit that international students can apply for after completing post-secondary education here in Canada. The duration of the PGWP is generally the same duration as the Canadian post-secondary education, up to a max of 3 years. The Government is acutely aware that many CEC candidates here in Canada have an expiring PGWP, and so in response Minister Fraser announced the following temporary policy:
Minister Fraser also announced today a new temporary policy that will give recent international graduates with expiring temporary status an opportunity to stay in Canada longer, so that they can continue to gain work experience and have a better chance at qualifying for permanent residency. 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. We are exploring a simplified, expeditious process for this, and details will be made available in the weeks ahead.
One of the reasons that this temporary policy is so important is because generally speaking a PGWP cannot be extended. There are only really two exceptions:
1. If you had to renew your passport
"You can extend your PGWP with your new passport only if you were eligible for a PGWP but you didn’t get the full length because your passport was going to expire"
2. If you’re an Express Entry applicant
"You may be able to apply for a bridging open work permit if
you’re waiting for a decision on a permanent residence application under Express Entry
your current work permit expires in 4 months or less
you have valid status on your work permit
you’re currently in Canada"
While the details of this new temporary policy are currently unavailable, CEC candidates that find themselves in a situation with an expiring PGWP should watch for announcements from IRCC in the days and weeks to follow. I will try to update this Blog post once the Government releases more details on this new policy.