Immigration Corner | New policy to help international students

Dear Ms Powell,

I graduated with a postgraduate certificate from a college in Canada and although I have been blessed to have a job, it is not a job that falls within the required National Occupational Classification (NOC) so that I can apply under the express entry. I have been extremely worried. I saw a recent article that the government has changed the policy for international students. Can you tell me if I would qualify? How do I apply?

– I.E.

Dear I.E.,

The Honourable Marco Mendicino, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, recently announced that “former international students who hold or held a postgraduate work permit (PGWP) will have the opportunity to apply for an open work permit”.

The government will begin accepting application online from January 27-July 27, 2021.

This is a special policy, introduced in response to the pandemic and the recognition that students like you may be having a difficulty locating jobs that fall within the National Occupational Classification code of A, B and O. These jobs have been scarce and, therefore, student may lack the ‘in-Canada’ work experience that could bolster their comprehensive ranking scores to guarantee them an invitation to apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry System.

Under the new, temporary policy, all international students in Canada who have been impacted by COVID-19 and their work permit has expired or will be expiring soon, will have an opportunity to apply for another work permit. This would grant them an extra 18 months to remain in Canada and, hopefully, obtain a job within their field of study and in the required NOC. It is the hope that the added time will give international students the opportunity to have the required work experience to apply to live permanently in Canada and contribute to the economic growth of the country.

The government has recognised the negative impact of the pandemic on the economy, resulting in the loss of lives and jobs. Additionally, the country is going through a second wave of the pandemic. Therefore, it is the hope that international students who are already in Canada will be able to fill in-demand jobs in areas such as healthcare and technology, to name a few.

HOW DO YOU QUALIFY

The policy was implemented to make it easier for individuals who are currently in Canada and already have a PGWP, or one that will be expired on or after January 30. This is also applicable to students whose work permit will expire in four months or less from the date of the application. You will need to ensure that your temporary resident status is maintained or apply at the same time for restoration of status.

You did not give the full details of your situation. However, since you were already granted a PGWP, there are only a few reasons that you could be deemed ineligible. The most significant reason to be denied is if you have been recently convicted of a criminal offence or you failed to maintain your status.

I recommend that you consult directly with an immigration lawyer to assist you with your application and answer any other questions you may have.

Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public in Ottawa Ontario. Contact her via www.deidrepowell.com or find her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


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