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IRCC Announces Updated Deadline for Post-Graduation Work Permit Eligibility for Certain College Programs

On January 22, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) unveiled significant revisions to the policies governing international students in Canada. A key update was the future ineligibility for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) for graduates from college programs that operate under public-private curriculum licensing agreements, initially set to commence on September 1, 2024. However, IRCC has now advanced this deadline to May 15, 2024, affecting international students graduating from these programs beyond this new date.

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This adjustment stems from concerns regarding the educational standards at these hybrid institutions, following a report by the Auditor General of Ontario that highlighted deficiencies in monitoring the quality of programs and student services.

By removing the PGWP eligibility, IRCC aims to curb the enrollment of international students at these institutions, potentially affecting their appeal. Nonetheless, affected graduates might still qualify for other work permit categories. IRCC is coordinating with provincial and territorial governments to identify and communicate about programs impacted by this policy clarification, promising updates as new information is provided.

These changes are part of IRCC’s broader strategy to manage the surge in the International Student Program and ensure its sustainability.

Additional Revisions to PGWP Criteria

Further modifications to the PGWP eligibility criteria were announced alongside the January updates. A notable amendment allows graduates from master’s programs, even those lasting less than eight months, to qualify for a three-year PGWP, aligning the permit’s validity with the length of the academic program.

Specifically, graduates from academic programs spanning at least two years at PGWP-qualified designated learning institutions, and those completing master’s degrees shorter than two years, are now eligible for a three-year PGWP.

Understanding the PGWP 

The PGWP is an open work permit granted to international students who have graduated from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution, enabling them to work for nearly any employer across Canada. This permit is instrumental for international graduates seeking to accumulate professional experience in Canada, which can significantly enhance their prospects for permanent residency.

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