On the 27th of October, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) declared forthcoming modifications to its International Student Program, aiming to fortify the program and shield students from potential fraud. The recently introduced measures will necessitate Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) to authenticate each applicant’s letter of acceptance directly with IRCC to guarantee the issuance of study permits solely based on authentic letters of acceptance.
By the fall semester of 2024, IRCC plans to adopt a “recognized institution” framework that will pace up the process of study permit applications.
Additionally, IRCC revealed its intention to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) criteria in the following months and initiate reforms to align it better with the nation’s labor market requirements, as well as regional and Francophone immigration objectives. This initiative marks the first time the program has undergone a review in a decade.
The Post-Graduation Work Permit
International students who successfully complete Canadian post-secondary programs can apply for a PGWP and also have the liberty to work for any employer in Canada.
Typically, a PGWP holder would need a year of work experience in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) code of 0, A, or B to meet the eligibility requirements for Canadian permanent residency.
Eligibility Criteria for the PGWP
To stand eligible for a PGWP, an international student is required to fulfill the following criteria:
- Completed studies in an academic, vocational, or professional training program lasting at least eight months at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) on the approved list.
- Maintained full-time student status in Canada throughout every academic session of the program or programs of study completed, as included in their PGWP application.
- Must receive a transcript and an official letter from the DLI about the completion of a program of study.
Graduated from a public post-secondary institution, including a college, a trade or technical school, a university, CEGEP (in Quebec), a private post-secondary school (in Quebec) operating under the same rules as public schools in Quebec, a private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) offering qualifying programs of 900 hours or more resulting in the issuance of a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP).
Growth of the Post-Graduation Work Permit
According to a 2022 Statistics Canada report, the number of PGWP holders in Canada has seen a consistent rise annually. The data revealed that 29% of graduates in the 2008 cohort held a PGWP five years later, whereas this number increased to 52% for the 2013 graduates. Over the decade, the total number of PGWP holders surged from 10,300 in 2008 to 64,700 in 2018.
Statistics Canada also highlighted the reason behind the escalating prevalence of the PGWP, citing the opportunities it provides for international students to secure employment in Canada. Moreover, median earnings for PGWP holders witnessed a substantial rise from 2008 to 2018.
In 2008, China and India accounted for 51% of all PGWP holders’ countries of origin. However, by 2018, these two source countries contributed to 66% of the total PGWPs issued.
As of the end of 2022, more than 286,000 international graduates resided in Canada with a valid PGWP. Additionally, tens of thousands of PGWP holders successfully transitioned to permanent residency each year, surpassing 157,000 in 2021, a record high. In 2022, this number reached almost 95,000, representing the second-highest total to date.