International student graduates can extend their work permits in Canada

Applications for extended work permits will allow students to extend their stay for 18 more months

The KPU International Students’ Office, located in the Cedar Building on Surrey Campus. (file photo)

On Jan. 8, the Canadian Ministry of Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship announced an update to the rules for international student graduates whose work visas are about to expire.

International student graduates who currently have or previously had a post-graduate work permit will be able to apply for another open work permit starting Jan. 27 and have until July 27 to apply.

With an open work permit, graduates can work full-time, part-time, or be self-employed.

Their new open work permit will be valid for another 18 months and will give international students a chance to “continue to seek employment and build their future in this country.”

KPU’s Associate Vice President of International Carole St. Laurent says students who have completed an accredited program for at least one year can apply for an open work permit.

The program a graduate chooses determines how long they can stay in the country. A certificate program is one year, while a diploma is up to three years.

St. Laurent says students who’ve graduated but haven’t been able to find jobs will be able to apply for this program and extend their stay in the country.

In order for the student graduates to be eligible for the extension, they must reside in Canada, “have a valid temporary status, or be applying to restore their status.” Their PGWP must expire on Jan. 30 or after that date, and graduates with current PGWPs can apply if their permit expires “in 4 months or less from the date they apply.”

St. Laurent says KPU International helps student graduates transition after graduation. Once students receive confirmation of their graduation, KPU International provides them with a support letter which details the PGWP and how they can apply for it.

This new policy does not affect current KPU international students, just graduates who have expiring work permits.

St. Laurent says student graduates can always come back to KPU for assistance should they need it.

“We do provide support services to students. Whether they need help with a study permit extension…anything like that,” St. Laurent says.

Marco E.L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, said the new policy ensures that “young students from abroad who have studied here can stay and find work, while ensuring that Canada meets the urgent needs of our economy for today and tomorrow.”

His office hopes the policy helps fill up the space in demanding job areas like technology, healthcare, and other essential areas.

According to the government of Canada, international students bring more than $21 billion to the economy every year. With this extension about “52,000 graduates with expired or expiring PGWPs could benefit from the public policy.”

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