Former international students whose work permits are about to expire will be given the opportunity to work in Canada for another 18 months, according to the Canadian government.
Those still in Canada will be able to work in the interim while their permit is extended as part of the move. It follows a similar announcement earlier this year that recent international graduates would be given the opportunity to stay and work in Canada for a longer period of time in order to address labour shortages.
“This is a very positive development for many former international students who studied in Canada and received their permit but may not have been able to fully utilise their work permit due to the pandemic and other delays.” Philipp Reichert, the University of British Columbia’s director of global engagement told the PIE News.
“While many students are already interested in staying and settling in Canada, there are often challenges associated with the limited timeline, so this temporary extension for specific holders is beneficial for many students who want to further their careers,” he added.
The criteria vary slightly depending on when the permit is expired or is about to expire, as well as individual circumstances.
“Positioning ourselves as an open and welcoming destination that values international students necessarily requires measures like these to support current and former international students as they build their life here,” said Isaac Garcia-Sitton, executive director of international student enrolment, education, and inclusion at Toronto Metropolitan University.
“[The new measures] have a number of positive implications for our national economic growth as well as post-pandemic recovery efforts,” Garcia-Sitton continued.
Those whose permits are set to expire between October 2 and December 31 of this year and who have a valid passport for at least two more years will not have to do anything; the updated permit will be automatically renewed and mailed to them.
As a part of the special measures, students who also need to restore any expired temporary status will be able to apply to do so concurrently. If the permit has already expired or expires before October, they must apply online at the IRCC for the permit starting on August 2.
Essentially, the ones who have left Canada will be eligible for applying for the work permit & status restoration and return once it gets approved.
“This isn’t the be-all and end-all solution,” Gartia-Sitton added.
The challenge is multidimensional: international students experience more discrimination and are more vulnerable to financial difficulty & isolation than most Canadian students once they have finished their education and are in a prime position to fill many of the shortages in our labour market.
“Immigration policy measures may influence international students’ decisions to extend their stays, but this is not why they choose to call Canada home… In addition to these measures, Garcia-Sitton suggested making an effort to create a more inclusive society.
Even better news for international graduates: those who are still in Canada can apply for the renewable work permit and will be permitted to work during the waiting period.
All those looking to renew, including those whose permits expired on September 20 of last year, are insured by the special measures, which are in effect until May of next year. As a result, they won’t have to leave their country of origin while they wait because they may sustain themselves.
It’s beneficial because it clarifies the former student’s legal rights for both of them and their employers… which, according to research, is frequently one of the major challenges, such as hesitancy or confusion surrounding legal job statuses, added Reichert.
The move is extremely beneficial to Canada’s post-study work sector, allowing more and more people to follow their path, eventually leading to Canadian permanent residency if they wish.
Furthermore, it enables them to “perhaps qualify for one of the many PR streams, which require for specific levels of time and work classifications,” Reichert continued.
When it comes to the temporary to permanent resident pathways, applicants will be able to apply for an open permit lasting until the end of 2024, which means they can support themselves until their permanent residency is confirmed, just like those waiting for an extended permit.
Over half of international students studying in Canada are reportedly planning to apply for permanent residency at some point after they graduate, according to a recent survey published in July.
“It is important that we have transparency in the study permit application process because, in many instances, delays and complexities act as a deterrent for students who choose to study and then stay in Canada.”
“Government initiatives to simplify the submission, review, and wait times are essential,” Garcia-Sitton added.
He also stated that TMU students obtaining study permits for the Fall 2022 semester are facing “significant challenges,” in line with recent reports of visa processing issues in the country.
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