Canada extends online study eligibility period for PGWP applicants

Hard to understand the logic of this beyond support for universities and helping to meet government immigration levels. Canadian experience was one of the selling points for PGWP, this change largely removes it:

Online study is not normally eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), but that has changed since the pandemic.

International students can now do 100% of their studies online from outside Canada, and still get a PGWP once the program is complete. Canada has extended the period that international students can study online until August 31, 2022, up from December 31, 2021. The measure was originally implemented in 2020, as part of a coronavirus-related measure to allow international students affected by the pandemic to still be eligible for the PGWP.

Study programs must be with an eligible Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and meet other PGWP requirements. The shortest length a program may be is eight months. The time spent studying outside Canada after August 31, 2022, and any time spent studying before you applied for a study permit does not count toward the length of a PGWP.

The length of your study period is important both for the PGWP eligibility, and also in determining how long your PGWP will be valid for. If your study program was more than eight months but less than two years, the PGWP’s validity matches the length of the study program. If it was more than two years, the PGWP may be up to three years in duration.

PGWP opens pathways to Canadian immigration

Having Canadian work and study experience can go a long way toward an immigration application. A Statistics Canada report says six in 10 international students (first-time study permit holders) who worked during or after their studies became permanent residents.

Certain economic-class immigration pathways like Express EntryQuebec Experience Program (PEQ), and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) all highly value Canadian work experience. Some programs even require it.

The Canadian Experience Class, for example, is an Express Entry-managed program that requires one year of Canadian work experience in a skilled occupation. The PEQ, is a popular pathway for French-speaking international student graduates in Quebec. Also, the PNP opens immigration pathways for people who are not eligible for Express Entry.

The PGWP is an open work permit, meaning you can use it to work for any employer, in any occupation in Canada. It is a one-time deal, and it cannot be renewed or extended.

However, if you do get it, you have the opportunity to work anywhere in Canada. Studies suggest that having both Canadian work and study experience can boost immigrants’ earning potential. For these reasons, the PGWP is a highly sought-after work permit, as it opens the doors to opportunities in Canada.

Source: Canada extends online study eligibility period for PGWP applicants

New work permit program for international graduates in Canada taking applications

Makes sense, given that they are already here in Canada and thus unaffected by travel restrictions, not to mention being familiar with Canada with fewer integration challenges:

A new work-permit program aimed at encouraging international students to settle in Canada opened for applications Wednesday, offering hope to some eager graduates who were still seeking more details on the program.

The federal government announced the program this month after international students argued the pandemic had disrupted the job market, making it hard to gain work experience required to apply for permanent residency before their permits expired.

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said the new permit offers people more time to find work in Canada after graduating from post-secondary studies.

Former students with post-graduation work permits that have expired or will soon expire can now apply for open work permits.

Under the new program, people have 18 more months to stay in the country to look for work.

The federal department estimates that about 52,000 graduates could benefit.

Shiva Montazeri, a Brock University graduate originally from Iran, said Wednesday that she felt relief again after a difficult year.

Montazeri, 37, said she lost eight months of work before her permit expired in October, and she was “happy and surprised” when the government announced the open work permit program this month.

She plans to apply, and is eager to accept a recent job offer for an online teaching position. But she still had uncertainties Wednesday about whether her husband is also eligible to apply for a work permit, and how soon after applying she can start working.

“We were impacted in a very bad way. Now are hopeful again, because we can apply for a new work permit,” she said by phone from St. Catharines, Ont. “But still, we have some concerns.”

Post-graduation work permits allow international graduates to gain work experience in “skilled” Canadian jobs and later apply for permanent residence in the country.

Sarom Rho, who leads a migrant student campaign with Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, said the change is a major win for the thousands of people who feared potential deportation once their non-renewable permits expired.

“This is a massive change and it’s absolutely a step in the right direction,” Rho said in an interview.

“However, there are many who are still left behind.”

Some people whose permits were near expiring have already left the country and can’t apply under the new rules, Rho said, or they went home to visit their families and have been unable to return due to travel restrictions.

Others whose permits are set to expire after November 2021 are also ineligible to apply, Rho said.

Rho’s group, Migrant Students United, also wants Ottawa to consider hours worked in essential jobs unrelated to graduates’ programs of study towards their permanent residency applications.

The group is holding an online session Thursday to take field questions about the program and how to apply.

Source: New work permit program for international graduates in Canada taking applications

Canada’s hardest-hit economies need immigration to thrive again: Moffat

Mike Moffat on the need to remove the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment for graduates of Canadian universities in Express Entry point scoring (another issue is to restored pre-Permanent Resident credit towards citizenship residency requirements for international students as was done prior to the 2014 changes in the Citizenship Act):

So how can London, Windsor, St. Catharines et. al. increase their population of talented twentysomethings? The region does an excellent job of importing talent as our institutes of higher education are worldwide magnets for young achievers. In London, Western and Fanshawe bring in some of the most gifted students in the world, teach them skills highly in demand in the region while they become familiar with Canadian culture. We then allow these graduates to stay in the country for a period of up to three years via Canada’sPost-Graduation Work Permit Program(PGWPP); tech companies Darren Meister, Kadie Ward and I interviewed in London told me how incredibly valuable these workers are.

They also told us that, despite these workers having graduated in Canada and being in the country around seven years, the Federal government makes it difficult (and some cases impossible) to keep them in the country. They are sent back home, and London has fewer talented young workers.

The issue stems, in part, from year-old changes to Canada’s express entry system which makes it impossible for someone in the PGWPP program to gain express entry without a Labour Market Impact Assessment, as chronicled by Nicholas Keung:

“The problem, which the federal government denies, lies in the significance given to a certificate called the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). It is issued by Ottawa to ensure a candidate’s skills are sufficiently in demand to warrant hiring an immigrant.

Ottawa says applicants for Express Entry, such as international graduates, do not need an LMIA to qualify. But Express Entry acceptance is based on a point system and it’s not possible to earn enough points without an LMIA, immigration experts say.

“The new system is flawed,” said Toronto immigration lawyer Shoshana Green. “We want people who went to school and have work experience in Canada. These people are already fully integrated. And now we are ignoring them. It is just bizarre.””

The process to obtain a LMIA is arduous for smaller growth companies, and navigating it can be difficult, as immigration lawyerRonalee Carey describes:

“Last month I sent a young woman back to Japan. She’d come to Canada as an international student first to finish high school, then to attend Sheridan College in their Animation Program. Her employer consulted me after their Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), because her position was denied. They had been paying her the median wage for Ontario, as opposed to Ottawa, which was slightly higher. Meanwhile, they had no idea there were median wages specific to Ottawa. They offered her a raise and resubmitted the LMIA application.”

But it was too late.

The young woman had been working on a post-graduate work permit. It had expired, and she’d applied for an extension. However, a positive LMIA was required for the extension. Ultimately, her work permit application was denied, because the new LMIA application had not yet been processed.

And so on the plane she went.

These stories are all too common according to the tech firms I have spoken to. In order to obtain an LMIA, one must prove to the federal government that “there is a need for the foreign worker to fill the job you are offering and that there is no Canadian worker available to do the job.” Not only does this place a large burden on growth companies to convince a bureaucrat about the lack of Canadians for the position, it is also completely counterproductive for communities where there is a desperate need for young talent. Furthermore, it may be impossible for these companies to prove this point to the government’s satisfaction. As immigration lawyer Evan Green asked the Globe and Mail, “…how do you prove for someone with [little] work experience that there is no Canadian to do the job?”

Southwestern Ontario is desperate for economic growth from startups. Startups are desperate for these talented workers. These workers are desperate to stay in Canada. Yet we are kicking them out. It makes absolutely no sense. If the federal government truly wants to help London and the rest of southwestern Ontario, the place to start is to recognize the region needs talented young people and to reform the Express Entry system to allow us to keep more of our graduates.

Source: Canada’s hardest-hit economies need immigration to thrive again