IRCC’s 8 New Possible PGWP Changes for International Students What to Expect


The landscape of international education is ever-evolving, and as students from around the world seek opportunities to study abroad, it’s crucial to stay informed about changes and updates in immigration policies. Recently, the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced eight possible new changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program, impacting international students in Canada.

With its unique post-graduation work permit (PGWP) program, Canada has long been a top choice for international students, providing them with worthwhile employment options once they graduate. However, recent reforms aim to better align the program with labor market needs while addressing concerns about its misuse.

In response to these objectives, the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada IRCC is surveying eight new changes to the PGWP program,  Signaling a significant shift in eligibility criteria for both current and prospective international students in Canada.

The aforementioned reforms aim to achieve equilibrium between augmenting prospects for global scholars and preserving the credibility of the immigration framework. By reducing the overall volume of PGWP holders, Canada aims to ensure that work permits are granted to those who genuinely contribute to the labour market and the country’s economy.

Among the proposed changes is an extension of the eligibility criteria to include both current and future cohorts of international students. This broader scope aims to ensure that all students, regardless of when they arrived in Canada, have equal access to post-graduation work opportunities.

Furthermore, the reforms aim to address concerns about abuse of the PGWP program by introducing stricter measures to prevent misuse. By putting these reforms into effect, Canada hopes to preserve both its standing as a friendly country for international students and the integrity of its immigration system.

It’s important to note that while these changes may signal a tightening of eligibility criteria, Canada remains committed to attracting and retaining international talent. The PGWP program continues to play a crucial role in this regard, offering a pathway for students to gain valuable work experience and contribute to the country’s diverse and dynamic workforce.

In response to survey questions addressed to colleges and institutions, it seems that the PGWP program’s qualifying requirements may change. These potential changes suggest that students may need to complete programs aligned with occupations facing labor shortages and meet new language proficiency requirements to qualify for the permit after graduating.

This implies that educational programs would be tailored to meet the anticipated needs of industries experiencing future labor shortages. As stated in the poll, these programs would probably be grouped in accordance with Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC).

For example, students pursuing careers as carpenters may find their study programs categorized under disciplines such as construction trades, carpentry, or woodworking/general.

It’s evident that these potential changes aim to ensure that international students contribute to sectors where their skills are most needed in the Canadian labor market. Canada aims to improve the efficacy of the PGWP program in fulfilling the nation’s changing needs by implementing language competence standards and matching study programs with sectors facing workforce shortages. economic needs.

Canada aims to improve the efficacy of the PGWP program in fulfilling the nation’s changing needs by implementing language competence standards and matching study programs with sectors facing workforce shortages. These reforms aim to balance facilitating opportunities for students with safeguarding the integrity of Canada’s immigration system.The following questions were asked in the survey and there outcome:

Question 1: Given the needs in your area, which jobs should be included in the PGWP eligibility regulated only by programs of study and shortage occupations? If there are any shortage jobs that you believe the mapping paper should have included, please let us know and provide justification.

Outcome: The first question in the survey asks if there are any additional jobs that should be added to the eligibility list, supplementing those already identified by IRCC and Employment use the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) system, and Social Development Canada (ESDC).According to a portion of the poll, courses related to careers eligible for category-based selections in the Express Entry system are more likely to be prioritized. This suggests a calculated strategy to guarantee that the PGWP program complements Canada’s more general immigration objectives.

Question 2:  Which cohorts, if any,—graduate degree programs, francophone students, or others—should be spared from these modifications? Please indicate the rationale.

Outcome : The second survey question is expected to focus on determining possible exemptions if new eligibility criteria for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) are introduced. These criteria could include exemptions for students who demonstrate a high level of proficiency in French or are enrolled in specific degree programs.This approach is somewhat similar to previous changes in the PGWP, which have favored graduates of Masters and PhD programs by granting them a three-year PGWP, regardless of the length of their study program.However, the proposed changes aim to explore whether the eligibility criteria for the PGWP should be based on the field of study or fluency in the French language, thereby exempting certain degree programs or students with high French proficiency.

Question 3: Should international students be required to demonstrate proof of a job offer aligned with the occupational shortage list in order to hold a PGWP beyond one year?

Conclusion: This question addresses the issue of the rising number of temporary residents in Canada, particularly PGWP holders.If this condition is included in the PGWP eligibility criteria, students would need to provide proof of a job offer to continue working under the PGWP.This requirement might not be universal, but it would apply specifically to study programs that align with the occupational shortage list mentioned in the first question.

Question 4: Should PGWP holders who want to renew their permit beyond a year be subject to any additional qualifying requirements (language, provincial assistance, etc.) in addition to a work offer?

It suggests that students might need to submit an additional language proficiency test and/or obtain provincial approval to continue working on a PGWP after the first year.

Question 5: What is your view of applying these labour market-based changes to PGWP eligibility to all graduates upon announcement this year, rather than grandfathering students who are already studying in Canada at the time of implementation?

The fifth point is significant and raises questions for those who are currently enrolled in study programs in Canada.

This question suggests that labour market-based changes to PGWP eligibility could be announced this year, and the immigration department is debating whether to exempt current students from these changes.

New government policies usually give current cohorts an exception, but it appears that Minister Miller is thinking of taking a more stringent stance. He aims to solidify his stance on this issue and is expected to base his decision on feedback from educational institutions

Question 6: When should students who are currently enrolled in classes be subject to the revision of the occupational shortage list, and how frequently should it occur?

The department is seeking input from stakeholders on how often the list of in-demand occupations should be updated and when these updates should take effect.

For instance, they are considering whether the list should be revised annually, biennially, or every three years.

Additionally, they want to know when the new list should be implemented for current students

Question 7: Do the applicants’ profiles that you would like to see continue working in your jurisdictions over the long run match the PGWP adjustments that are being considered?

The purpose of this survey question is to determine if the revised requirements for post-graduation work permits will contribute to the long-term retention of students in the province or region in which they studied.

Question 8: Is your PNP set up to provide an effective route to permanent residency for foreign graduates who have employment offers in these important industries? Are there any discrepancies between your PNP’s current streams and the labor market demands you have identified? Will PNP streams need to be modified in any way to make sure they continue to be relevant to PGWP holders and graduates in particular fields (such regulated fields)?

It looks that the eighth question on this survey checks if pupils meet the provincial nominee’s eligibility requirements and are ready for a road to permanent residency. Program (PNP) of a specific province.It also seeks to ascertain whether the province’s labor market demands are adequately being met by the PNP streams already in place or whether reforms are required for particular occupations, such as regulated professions that require licensing.

This initiative is beneficial as it helps foreign students increase their chances of successfully transitioning from temporary residency to permanent residency.

Overall, these potential changes are aimed at ensuring that international students have a pathway to permanent residency and are prepared for long-term success in Canada. By proactively aligning with the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and addressing gaps in existing streams, Canada aims to provide viable pathways for international graduates to transition from temporary to permanent residency, thereby contributing to the country’s diverse and dynamic workforce.

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