Changes to the PGWP could affect PR in Canada

Changes to the PGWP could affect PR in CanadaChanges to the PGWP could affect PR in Canada

In a significant step for international students in Canada, IRCC is contemplating making eight changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program that would affect the permanent residence (PR) of some foreign students and which would be intended to ensure that their educational goals align with the country's labour market requirements. This is a developing news story worth showing in light of a new projection for 2025. That's why our immigration services company for Canada, Immiland, presents this informative and encouraging article for international students who graduate from programs with high labor demand in this country.


What are the proposed changes to the PGWP?

As introduced above, the proposal is being developed this year 2024, however, the excerpt obtained from the renowned Toronto Star newspaper reveals that the new policy would require international students to graduate from programs directly related to occupations that experience labor shortages. This means that only students who complete studies in fields that meet specific job demands in Canada would be eligible for a PGWP. In addition, new language requirements are expected to be introduced. Read the excerpt here.

On the other hand, under the proposed plan, academic programs would be linked to the National Classification of Occupations (NOC). This classification system will help identify programs that align with job categories that are predicted to face long-term shortages. For example, students pursuing studies in the trades of construction, carpentry, or joinery would be aligned with the carpenters occupation, thus meeting the eligibility criteria for a PGWP. 

Summary of the eight proposed new changes

  1. Occupation-Based Eligibility in Demand: This means that students will need to complete programs of study that are aligned with these occupations in order to qualify for a PGWP. The goal is to ensure that graduates have the skills needed for jobs that are currently facing shortages.
  2. New Language Requirements: Students may need to demonstrate a certain level of proficiency in English or French to qualify for the PGWP. This change seeks to ensure that graduates can communicate effectively in the workplace and integrate into Canadian society.
  3. Proof of Job Offer to Extend the PGWP: Students might have to show proof of a job offer in an in-demand occupation to extend their PGWP beyond one year. This requirement would help ensure that graduates find employment in their field of study and contribute to the Canadian economy.
  4. Additional eligibility criteria: Additional eligibility criteria can be introduced, such as provincial support or additional language tests. These criteria would need to be met in order for students to extend their PGWP beyond the initial year. The aim is to ensure that graduates are well prepared for the Canadian labour market.
  5. Immediate implementation of the new changes: IRCC is considering applying these changes to all new graduates following the announcement, rather than exempting current students. This means that all students, regardless of when they started their studies, will need to meet the new eligibility criteria.
  6. Regular review of the list of occupations: The list of occupations in demand will be reviewed regularly to reflect the changing needs of the Canadian labour market. Stakeholders are being consulted to determine how often these reviews should be conducted and when they should be implemented for foreigners who are currently studying.
  7. Alignment with provincial needs: The new eligibility criteria for the PGWP will be designed to align with the needs of specific provinces. This means that internationals studying in provinces with specific labour market needs will have better chances of finding employment and staying in those provinces in the long term.
  8. Pathway to Permanent Residency: The changes will also consider aligning PGWP eligibility with pathways to permanent residency. This will help ensure that international students who find jobs in key sectors can more easily transition to permanent residency.

What is IRCC's goal with these proposed changes?

The government's main objectives behind these proposed changes are:

  • Align PGWP eligibility with labor market needs.
  • Manage the growing number of international students by reducing the total volume of PGWP holders.
  • Increase the likelihood that international students will get jobs that match their education and training.

Which current PGWP scenario needs change?

Currently, international students in Canada can pursue any post-secondary program and still be eligible for an open work permit upon graduation, however, this has led to an increase in international tuition, raising concerns about the sustainability and relevance of education to the Canadian economy. Immigration Minister Marc Miller has seen it necessary to implement reforms that reduce or restrict the issuance of work permits, hinting at a two-year limit on the number of new study permits and restricting the number of hours students can work off-campus during the school year.

How do the changes to the PGWP relate to educational institutions?

To refine the proposed changes, IRCC has distributed a survey to colleges and universities that explores the prospects of permanent residence for international graduates with job offers in in-demand sectors. In addition, it asks educational institutions to identify any gaps between their employment needs and their province's existing immigration programs. Hence, opinions are obtained on several key topics, such as:

  • The identification of occupations that should be included according to regional labor needs.
  • The recognition of exemptions for certain groups, such as French-speaking students or those in graduate programs.
  • The need for a job offer aligned with the occupational shortage list to extend the PGWP beyond one year.
  • Additional eligibility criteria for extending the PGWP, such as language proficiency or provincial support.

How do changes to the PGWP affect permanent residency?

According to the opinion of Canadian immigration experts, aligning PGWP eligibility with the needs of the labour market could be an effective tool for aspects such as:

  • Restore the integrity of the international education program. 
  • Improve the quality of candidates in the permanent resident pool.
  • Ensure that your studies are relevant to Canada's economic needs.

If these changes are implemented, they are likely to mark a significant impact on Canada's approach to aligning international education and immigration, linking educational programs with labour market demands, to ensure that international students successfully contribute to the country's economy and improve their prospects of becoming permanent residents.

We hope this news is useful to international students and educational institutions in Canada and encourage you to stay tuned for future updates on these proposals. If you have doubts about your immigration status as an international student or require the advice of a vocational specialist to channel your program of study to one with greater demand in Canada, you can write to us at Immiland Education offers everything you need to know to study and be a professional with great possibilities of permanent residency in Canada.

With love,


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