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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact not only on Canada’s labour market but also on the incoming workforce, included graduating and international students, who are looking to kickstart their own careers. The economic challenges attributed to the pandemic coupled with the shutdown of various sectors/industries have created many novel changes to finding new employment.

Accordingly, many workers, including temporary foreign workers, are experiencing difficulties and/or delays in securing new employment. This problem has been exacerbated by the significant number of layoffs, terminations and wrongful dismissals that have occurred in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response, on January 8, 2021, the Canadian government announced a short-term public policy measure aimed at assisting recent international graduates from Canadian colleges and universities with securing temporary employment in Canada. Specifically, the policy allows former international students to secure an open work permit if their current Post-Graduate Work Permit (“PGWP”) has expired or is soon set to expire.

REQUIREMENTS TO APPLY FOR A WORK PERMIT UNDER THIS PUBLIC POLICY

To apply for an open work permit under this policy, qualified individuals must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a PGWP that expired on or after January 30, 2020 or a PGWP that expires within four (4) months or less from the date of application;
  • Currently reside in Canada;
  • Hold a valid temporary status or be applying to restore your status; and
  • Hold a valid passport.

Eligible candidates may be entitled to receive an open work permit for a period of up to 18 months, which will not be eligible for an extension. This will allow the temporary foreign worker to seek employment from any Canadian employer. Further, in the event that a foreign worker is terminated, they will be able to secure new employment on the basis of the open work permit since it is not tied to any specific employer, as long as the open work permit remains valid.

Applications under this public policy must be submitted online to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) by July 27, 2021, to be considered.

MAINTAINING YOUR STATUS IN CANDA

It is crucial that anyone with a PGWP that is set to expire or has already expired, take action to maintain or reinstate their work authorization. Overstaying the validity of your work permit can be a serious violation, and in many cases may result in having to leave Canada to secure new status, including as a worker, or being barred from entering Canada.

If you are in a position where your PGWP has expired or will expire shortly, and you would like to determine your eligibility to restore your status as well as to apply for a new permit, please contact Toronto employment and immigration lawyers, Sultan Lawyers, at (416) 214-5111 or via email at mlahert@sultanlawyers.com.


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