(Ottawa) The federal government is issuing new work permits to foreign students in an effort to persuade them to settle permanently in Canada.
Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said Friday that former foreign students who have or have a postgraduate work permit (PTPD) can now apply for an “open work permit.” The minister said the move would give the affected students a chance to stay in Canada for another 18 months, find a job and eventually settle in the country.
“For many post-graduation work permit holders, the interruptions caused by the epidemic and the uncertainty have compromised the opportunities to gain adequate work experience to support an application for permanent residence,” the ministry said in a press release.
The current work permit program allows foreign postgraduate students to stay in Canada and work for up to three years. The program can be used as a gateway to permanent residence; The Immigration Department estimates that half of the 61,000 people licensed last year took the route.
The ministry estimates that 52,000 graduates whose work permit has expired or will expire soon could benefit from the new measure.
Governments facing persistent labor shortages are trying to persuade international students to settle in Canada. But the pandemic has significantly reduced the flow of international students to Canada; Minister Mendicino has announced a number of policies in recent months to bury this decline.
“Our message to international students and graduates is very simple: we do not want you to study here, we want you to stay here too,” the minister wrote.
Applications for the new OpenWork Permit Program will be accepted from January 27th.