Home World News Canada to align post-graduate work permit visa to tackle labour shortages

Canada to align post-graduate work permit visa to tackle labour shortages

In what is expected to impact Indian students, the Canadian government is proposing substantial revisions to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) programme. Canada is planning to limit PGWP benefits to graduates from courses that help fill roles in sectors facing worker shortages.

From September 1, international students enroled in private colleges in Canada will no longer automatically qualify for PGWP benefits.

Indian students form the largest group of international students studying in Canada. At present, Indians make up about 40% of the 8 lakh international students in Canada, according to Canadian government statistics. Most of these Indian students choose Canada because it provides an easier route to permanent residency and citizenship.

The PGWP, a vital pathway for international students seeking employment and permanent residency in Canada, has seen remarkable growth. In 2023, the number of PGWPs issued surged by 214% compared to 2018.

The ability to work after graduation with a PGWP and the prospect of achieving permanent residency through work experience is a significant driver of rising demand.

However, with the changes, Canada is aligning eligibility of graduates more closely with labour market demands.

CANADA TO ALIGN COURSES TO LABOUR MARKET NEEDS

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holders constitute 26% of the International Mobility Programme, which exempts them from Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs).

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the government aims to “align PGWP eligibility with labour market needs while reducing the overall volume of PGWP holders”.

This strategy is intended to link PGWP eligibility to study programmes in areas experiencing labour shortages, potentially reducing the number of international students and PGWP holders if strict criteria are applied to programmes deemed less relevant to the labour market.

On January 22, 2024, IRCC introduced new measures aimed at reducing the number of international students eligible for PGWPs.

Starting September 1, 2024, students enroled in curriculum licencing arrangements at private colleges will no longer qualify for PGWPs.

Additionally, graduates of master’s programmes, known for their potential to excel in Canada’s job market and pursue permanent residency, will soon qualify for a three-year PGWP, regardless of their programme’s duration.

“The goal of re-aligning labour market needs is to facilitate access to work permits for students entering occupations in shortage, while reducing access for graduates from other programmes,” according to the IRCC.

The document, shared by Student Rights on X, states, “IRCC is working with Designated Learning Institutes (DLI) and provincial governments to reform the #PGWP programme and tie it to the field of education. Major reforms of the PGWP programme may change the face of the study pathway in Canada.”

Students Right is an official Twitter community of international students willing to immigrate to Canada but facing many challenges to secure visa.

According to IRCC, advice on changes to the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) will be provided to Immigration Minister Marc Miller in spring 2024, with the goal of implementing them in January 2025.

STUDENT PASSPORT EXPIRY AND PGWP VALIDITY

The Post-Graduate work permit (PGWP) programme allows international students who have completed programmes at Designated Learning Institutes (DLIs) to work in Canada and gain experience in their fields.

The permit’s duration ranges from eight months to three years, depending on the length of the student’s study programme.

However, if a student’s passport expires before the PGWP, the permit’s validity matches the passport’s expiry date.

The PGWP is a crucial step for many students aiming for Permanent Residency (PR) in Canada.

Indian students form the largest group of international students studying in Canada. At present, Indians make up about 40% of the 8 lakh international students in Canada, according to Canadian government statistics.

The IRCC noted that the demand for PGWP surged by 214% in 2023 compared to 2018.

Access to work opportunities after graduation through the PGWP and the potential for permanent residence based on that work experience is a major driver behind this increase.

Currently, PGWP holders constitute 26% of the International Mobility Programme, which is the Labour Market Impact Assessment-exempt stream for temporary foreign workers.

CANADIAN GOVERNMENT MEASURES TO REDUCE PGWP VOLUME

In addition to these proposed changes, the IRCC has implemented measures to reduce the volume of PGWP holders.

From September 1, 2024, international students starting a study programme under a curriculum licencing arrangement will no longer be eligible for a PGWP.

These programmes, involving private colleges delivering the curriculum of associated public colleges, have seen significant growth but lack the oversight of public institutions.

Moreover, graduates of master’s degree programmes will soon be eligible for a three-year PGWP, even if their study programme was less than two years long. This change recognises the potential of master’s degree graduates to succeed in Canada’s labour market and transition to permanent residence.

As of December 30, 2023, 80% of study permit applications were processed within 58 days, and study permit extensions within 77 days, both below the service standard timelines of 60 days for study permits and 120 days for extensions, according to IRCC.

Published By:

Girish Kumar Anshul

Published On:

Jun 14, 2024