Canada’s allure as an educational haven for international students just got even stronger! Recently, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced an extensive overhaul of the International Student Program, introducing reforms that will not only fortify the program but also safeguard students from potential fraud. These changes will revolutionize Canadian education, offering international graduates a brighter future. Notably, this marks the first review of the program in a decade.
The IRCC’s Initiatives
On October 27th, IRCC revealed its plans to revamp the International Student Program, which includes several key initiatives:
Genuine Acceptance Letters
Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) will be obligated to verify each applicant’s letter of acceptance directly with the IRCC. This will ensure that study permits are issued exclusively based on authentic letters of acceptance.
Recognized Institution Framework
By the fall semester of 2024, the IRCC will introduce a “recognized institution” framework, offering DLIs an array of benefits, including priority processing of study permit applications.
Perhaps the most significant change is the review of the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) criteria. This comprehensive assessment aims to align the PGWP with the needs of the Canadian labor market, regional requirements, and Francophone immigration goals.
The Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP)
The PGWP is a golden ticket for international students who have successfully completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program. The Post-Graduate Work Permit allows recent graduates with the liberty to engage in gainful employment with any Canadian employer. The permissible duration spans up to three years, contingent upon the extent of their academic program.
What truly distinguishes the PGWP is its pivotal role as a gateway to Canadian immigration. Many of Canada’s immigration pathways favor applicants with Canadian study and work experience, often requiring a year of work in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) code of 0, A, or B for eligibility to apply for Canadian permanent residency.
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The Booming Popularity of PGWP
The PGWP has witnessed exponential growth over the years. According to a Statistics Canada study from 2022, the number of PGWP holders in Canada has consistently risen. The study reveals that 52% of graduates in 2013 held a PGWP five years later, a substantial increase from 29% for the 2008 cohort.
The count of PGWP holders saw a remarkable rise, jumping from 10,300 in 2008 to a staggering 64,700 in 2018. This increase can be credited to international students’ capacity to earn a living in Canada, as the median earnings for PGWP holders have notably risen over the years.
Additionally, the source of PGWP holders has been shifting. In 2008, 51% of all PGWP holders originated from China and India. By 2018, these two nations made up 66% of all issued PGWPs.
As of the end of 2022, more than 286,000 international graduates held valid PGWPs, with tens of thousands transitioning to permanent residency each year. In 2021, a record-breaking 157,000 graduates successfully made the leap, with 2022 close behind at nearly 95,000.
PGWP Review: A Brighter Future for International Grads
The IRCC’s commitment to enhancing the International Student Program, coupled with the upcoming review of the Post-Graduation Work Permit, promises a brighter future for international graduates. If Canada has always been your dream destination for education and eventual immigration, now is the time to take that leap. Stay tuned for the latest updates on these game-changing developments, as they could be your ticket to a Canadian adventure of a lifetime.