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Former and Current PGWP Holders in Canada May Now Apply for an Open Work Permit

International students are normally granted a study permit that covers the length of the program, plus 90 days. After course completion, If you want to live, work or travel more within Canada, fresh grads need to figure out the best route to get the extension.

The Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is a popular option for Canadian graduates who wish to extend their stay in the country after their studies. By choosing the right institution and program, students can enjoy this privilege and use the experience gained as a pathway to residency.

The PGWP can last between 8 months to 3 years, depending on the length of your study program. It is designed to help graduates remain in Canada so they can find a job related to their field of expertise. 

Unfortunately, not all are lucky enough to find an employer within the given period. Without a valid sponsor, switching to a work permit would be impossible. 

If you are a current or former PGWP holder, all eyes here for we have great news for you! 

Canada welcomes Open Work Permit applications from expired or expiring PGWP holders 


On April 6, 2023, IRCC announced that permits which have expired or are about to expire can be eligible for the 18-month Open Work Permit. 

This special type of program allows foreign individuals to take any type of work in Canada. To be eligible you need to meet the following requirements:

  • With an expired or expiring PGWP between September 20, 2021 and December 31, 2023.

  • Application comes with an indication that you are applying for the Open Work Permit under public policy.

  • With a valid passport, preferably at least 18 months before expiry.

  • Have temporary resident status, either active or expired. If you lost your temporary residency but have already applied or will apply for restoration, you are still eligible.  

Once found eligible, you may:

  • join the simplified process to extend your work permit

  • apply for a work permit extension

  • apply to restore the status and claim a new work permit

The Simplified Extension process 


If you have received an invitation to apply through email from the IRCC, this could be because you were tagged as eligible. To proceed with the application, you must ensure that:

  • you are currently residing in Canada

  • you have an IRCC Secure Account, showing your updated mailing address and passport information. Otherwise, register and link your latest PGWP application before May 20, 2023

  • you opted in for the 18 months add-on work permit.

Why is Canada issuing a Work Permit Extension?

The first announcement was made by Sean Fraser last March 2023. Canada’s Immigration Minister stated that qualified current and former PGWP holders will be given a chance to get an Open Work Permit.

Through this policy, Canada hopes to address the ongoing historic labor shortage and provide more time for PGWP holders to work through their permanent residency status.

Targeting the PGWP holders


PGWP is a program that provides graduates with the opportunity to work after their studies. The length depends on how long the course is. For example, if your studies last for 2 years, you can expect to get a 2-year PGWP. 

The student-PGWP pathway is a preferred route by foreign learners since it provides the chance to be eligible for Canadian Permanent Residence. While on PGWP, they can gain Canadian work experience and help the labor market eventually once PR (Permanent Residency) is awarded.

Some of the economic immigration programs that count work experience as a major factor include the Express Entry, PNP (Provincial Nominee Program), and OINP (Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program). All these pave the way to PR

The availability of the economic migration programs serves as proof that Canada never falls short in providing opportunities for temporary residents to gain access to PR. And with the new Open Work Permit Policy, it just made itself more desirable when it comes to studies and migration!

Does Canada seem like a good option for you? Here at Fil-Global, we have programs and institutions that can help you shape your career―with the potential to stay permanently in your country of choice. Contact us now to join our exclusive orientation!


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