The Post-Graduation Work Permit program is an initiative by the Government of Canada that allows eligible international students who have completed a program of study at a designated learning institution in Canada to work in Canada after graduating from their program. The work experience gained in Canada can be invaluable for international students.

In recent years, there has been a large increase in the number of Post-Graduation Work Permits issued. From 2018 to 2023, there was an increase of 214% in the number of Post-Graduation Work Permits issued. In response to this drastic increase, the Canadian Government has made some changes to the program. This blog will explore these changes and will highlight key points for international students to know.

Post-Graduation Work Permit Eligibility

To be eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit program, international students must meet certain criteria, including:

  • Completion of a full-time program of study at a designated learning institution in Canada;
  • Study permit that has been valid within the last 180 days; and
  • Submission of an application to extend a study permit in Canada before the study permit expired and no decision has been made on the application.

However, some of the eligibility criteria will be changing soon. Starting on September 1, 2024, certain international students will no longer be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit.

Licensing Arrangements and Private Colleges

International students who begin a study program that is part of a curriculum licensing arrangement are no longer eligible for a post-graduation work permit when they graduate from their program. Curriculum licensing arrangements allow for students to attend a private college that has been licensed to deliver the curriculum of an associated public college. These programs have grown significantly in recent years by attracting international students. These programs have less oversight than public colleges and were seen as a loophole used to obtain work permits, which is why their eligibility.

Master’s Programs

Graduates of Master’s programs will be eligible to apply for three-year work permits. Currently, the length of the Post-Graduation Work Permit that can be granted is based on the length of an individual’s study program, and many Master’s programs are shorter than three years. This change allows for Master’s graduates to remain in Canada for a longer period which allows them to gain more work experience in Canada which can help with a transition to permanent residence.

More Changes Coming to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program

Currently, there are discussions taking place between provincial and federal Canadian Government officials regarding making significant changes to the Post Graduation Work Permit Program. The IRCC Deputy Minister Transition Binder 2024 – International Students (the “Binder”) details the considerations that are taking place within the government regarding international students and the Post-Graduation Work Permit program.

The rationale for making changes to the Post Graduation Work Permit program was elaborated upon in the Binder. There is an overarching goal of providing Post-Graduation Work Permits to students who will be entering occupations that are experiencing shortages. Further, there is an emphasis on reducing access to the Post Graduation Work Permit for students who are graduating from programs that will be looking to enter jobs that are not experiencing labour shortages.

Changes to be Implemented in 2025

The change in which Post-Graduation Work Permits may be targeted toward students graduating from certain programs is based on Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada aligning job titles with programs of study. This helps determine which education programs provide international students with relevant skills and experience to contribute to in-demand sectors of the Canadian economy.

This view of the data comes following changes to the National Occupational Classification and seems to be consistent policy-wise with the changes to Express Entry that allowed for the beginning of category-specific draws in 2023. If the issuance of Post-Graduation Work Permits is to become more targeted to students in particular programs, the students that are being targeted should be revealed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada before the implementation of this kind of change.

It is not certain as of now when changes to the Post Graduation Work Permit Program will be implemented; however, the ultimate goal is to implement the changes in January 2025.

Flagpoling No Longer Allowed for Post-Graduation Work Permit Applications

On June 21, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced a change that will impact some Post-Graduation Work Permit applicants. According to the announcement, foreign nationals can no longer apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit at the border through flagpoling. Flagpoling is an action through which temporary residents of Canada bypass normal wait times in applying for work or study permits by leaving Canada and then immediately coming back into Canada in order to access immigration services at the border to apply for their permits.

This change banning flagpoling for Post-Graduation Work Permit applications was implemented at the time of the announcement regarding the change in policy. Therefore, flagpoling is currently no longer available and applicants will have to apply through regular channels, such as applying online.

The Government of Canada is putting an emphasis on encouraging individuals to apply for status while in Canada, rather than flagpoling. In providing reasoning for the flagpoling change, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada indicated that flagpoling takes up significant resources at the border, and they are committing more resources to decrease processing times for applications. Further, the change is supposed to increase fairness among applicants for the Post-Graduation Work Permit program.

Contact Garson Immigration Law in Toronto for Canadian Immigration Solutions

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