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Canada Seeks Suggestions on Revamping PGWP

Canada Seeks Suggestions on Revamping PGWP

Post-graduation work permit (PGWP) is an important factor in the life of students planning to study overseas. PGWP was introduced by Canada in the year 2008, before that students had to come back after completing their education or had to apply for another visa category. During that time, countries like Australia, New Zealand, and the UK already had post-study work permits in operation.

When the PGWP option was withdrawn by the UK in 2012, it had a considerable impact on the market, as most students did not want to study in the UK after spending so much money and not having a chance to work there. PGWP gives you the time to prepare and apply for another visa after completing your studies, plus it also allows you to recover your money. The duration of PGWP ranges from six months to up to five years, depending on the programme you are pursuing and the country where you are studying. Changes in PGWP rules alter the decision of aspiring students to pursue overseas education.

Changes Proposed for Canada’s PGWP

A one-page letter circulated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to provinces and institutions is asking for recommendations about PGWP changes. Eight points have been chalked down on which recommendations are being sought. As yet no date has been decided on when these changes will become effective. 

The international education sector in Canada is undergoing some major changes. First, it was the cap on yearly student intake and now the Post-Graduation Work Permit programme, which is being pushed to align with the labour market demands. The ultimate goal of the Canadian government is to improve the immigration system and make it more beneficial for everyone. 

Permission to Work Only Where Needed

IRCC is conversing with provinces and institutions to outline the proposed modifications. PGWP may only be given to students pursuing education in fields experiencing labour shortages. The first point asks for suggestions to have a list of occupations that are facing a shortage of workforce, along with reasons as to why these occupations should be there for PGWP. The earlier version of PGWP granted work permission to anyone who graduates successfully from a Canadian university.

As a cap was placed on the total number of yearly student intake, a reduction in the number of PGWPs issued in a year made the obvious next step. The objective of Canada is clear, it wants to have a limited number of immigrants but of high value. The post-study work permit awarded to a student should align with the education pursued by him or her. 

A Change of Direction from Open Access

The second question asks if there will be a need to have an exempted group to whom these changes will not apply. For example, students who can speak both French and English and are pursuing a graduate degree programme. A third recommendation is sought, in the scenario that students be granted work permission for one year initially and to extend their work permission they need to have a job offer. At present there is no need to have a job offer. Students can apply for PGWP just as their education is completed. Plus, should there be any other eligibility requirement such as language or provincial support when applying for an extension of a work permit beyond one year?

The one-size-fits-all approach that was followed by the PGWP programme can be a thing of the past. At present, all international graduates from public colleges and universities are granted PGWP regardless of their field of study or future employment. The proposed reform with a more targeted approach will be a considerable change of direction. Point five makes it clear that the changes may be implemented this year in 2024 and suggestions are invited on how frequently the occupation list should be updated.

All the driving forces behind these changes are the provinces, as every province has its demands and requirements. It is yet to be seen if there will be a standard rule after considering the recommendation from all the provinces or if there will be individual rules for each province. It is quite possible that there can be a quota for PGWP just like a quota has been set up for student visas. Prepare well before applying for a study visa, and talk to immigration consultants in Chandigarh for complete information.

Willingness to Stay in the Province

Moving on to the final stage of a student visa journey, suggestions are invited on how permanent residency will be granted. Views are invited as to whether preference should be given to students who want to remain in the province even after earning permanent residency status. Last but not least, suggestions are also invited on the pathway of granting permanent residency.

On the outside, it seems that Canada is discouraging international students from coming to the country. However, the recent changes, including removing PGWP eligibility for students enrolled at public-private partnership colleges and placing a cap on study permits have a rationale. The strain on resources such as the healthcare and housing sectors because of the rapid influx of international students has triggered the desire for such changes from the government. 

The Allure of Working in Canada as an International Student

Just like there is competition in selling any product, there is competition in exporting education as well. The post-graduation work permit from Canada has been a big attraction for all those aspiring to study in Canada. The significant rise in international student enrollment is a result of this policy, with more than 1 million study permit holders as of 2023. If this one feature is taken out, Canada may lose to its competition.

This was one of the features that placed Canada at the top of the list among aspiring international students. Canada has always been the number one choice for anyone who wants to pursue education overseas. The proposed changes may remove the most attractive feature that pulled students towards this country. Canadian authorities must be aware of the effect these changes will have.

If you want to apply for a study visa to Canada, make sure to pick a specialised programme. Your aim should not be just to reach Canada but to have proper planning that can take you to permanent residency. Now the need is to change your questions when you go for counselling from overseas education consultants in Chandigarh.

Maintaining Canada’s Economic Growth

In conclusion, maintaining the economic growth of Canada is at the heart of all the changes that have happened recently and the ones that are being proposed. It is like someone having few friends but good friends. For international students, the message is loud and clear, if you pursue an education that can contribute to the growth of the Canadian economy then you will be readily welcomed. 

(Disclaimer: The views and perspectives presented in this blog are personal and reflect the author’s understanding, derived from their firsthand experience within the spheres of Canadian education and immigration.)

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