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Canada’s New Post-Graduation Work Permit Requirements

In a recent announcement, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has outlined significant modifications to the eligibility criteria for Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP) for international students in Canada. Effective September 1, international students enrolled in study programs under curriculum licensing arrangements will no longer qualify for a post-graduation work permit upon completion. This change aims to address concerns about the oversight of private colleges operating under these arrangements, closing a perceived loophole in PGWP eligibility.

Despite this restriction, there is a positive shift for graduates of master's and other short graduate-level programs. Under the updated criteria, these graduates will be eligible to apply for an extended three-year work permit. This change recognizes the need to provide master's graduates with sufficient time to gain valuable work experience, enhancing their prospects for transitioning to permanent residence.

Favorable Shift for Master's Graduates: Three-Year Work Permit Introduced

However, spouses of international students enrolled in undergraduate and college programs will no longer be eligible for open work permits. Moving forward, open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students pursuing master's and doctoral programs, according to IRCC.

Spousal Work Permit Adjustments: Limited Eligibility for Certain Programs

The adjustments to PGWP eligibility come in the wake of the Canadian government's efforts to manage record-high levels of immigration and address concerns about the housing crisis. Opposition critics have pointed to immigration levels as a contributing factor to the housing challenges in Canada. The government is implementing a proposed cap on study permits, with provinces and territories having limits on their capacity to admit new international students. This cap is expected to result in approximately 364,000 approved study permits, a 35% decrease from 2023.

Government's Response to Housing Crisis: Addressing Immigration Concerns

Immigration Minister Marc Miller emphasized the importance of protecting the integrity of the immigration system while acknowledging the valuable contribution of international students to Canada. The proposed measures aim to strike a balance that benefits both the country and the students, ensuring a fair and regulated immigration system.

Proposed Cap on Study Permits: Provincial Allocation Strategies

The changes also extend to international students' ability to work on campus while completing their studies. Students with valid study permits can work on campus without a work permit, and certain off-campus work is allowed under specific conditions. Additionally, international students may explore opportunities through the International Experience Canada program, allowing them to travel and work in Canada for up to one year, provided they meet specific age and country-of-origin criteria.

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