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Canada’s House of Commons receives petition to extend work permit for foreign graduates 



A new petition for the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP), has been introduced in the House of Commons, calling for an extension of the duration of post-graduation work permits (PGWPs) for foreign students studying in Canada. 

This was presented by Ruby Sahota, a Member of Parliament from Brampton North Liberal Caucus Ontario. An Ontario resident from Mississauga and a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC), Kanwar Sumit Singh Sierah introduced the petition e4454. 

The petition seeks to extend the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) to five years for individuals completing at least two years of study in Canada, and to two years for those completing a one-year program. 

During the period of the petition, it has since garnered 24,349 signatures from across all Canadian provinces and territories, with Ontario contributing the highest number at 16,686 signatures. 

Since 2017, international students completing a two-year program from an eligible designated learning institution (DLI) have received a four-and-a-half-year post-graduation work permit (PGWP) under the Public Policy for PGWP extension (originally three years with an eighteen-month extension). 

Similarly, since 2019, graduates from a one-year program have been granted a two-and-a-half-year PGWP (originally one year with an eighteen-month extension). 

The petition argues that the Government of Canada possesses sufficient data to warrant a permanent adjustment to PGWP duration, similar to other programs like Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) based work permits and Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) (T13) work permits. It contends that increasing the PGWP tenure is crucial for equipping students with the necessary skill set during their studies. 

Graduates without prior work experience often struggle to secure skilled jobs upon completing their studies, leading to stress and anxiety among PGWP holders who are unable to find suitable employment and may be vulnerable to exploitation. Extending the PGWP duration would therefore alleviate these challenges and provide graduates with more opportunities to gain valuable skills and employment experience. 

The argument for extending the duration of PGWP in Canada for foreign graduates is to facilitate the acquisition of valuable skills and address significant concerns such as businesses selling job offers, LMIA fraud, and the misuse of dummy payrolls by so-called employees. 

For instance, current PGWP holders who cut across all nationalities including Nigeria, struggle to secure meaningful employment and are consequently at risk of exploitation experience heightened stress and uncertainty due to the limited PGWP term.