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Canadian Post Graduate Work Permit in Canada under the Scanner!

The new IRCC Survey for Provincial and Territorial Governments and Marc Miller’s statements point to imminent changes in the PGWP in Canada!  

A new survey by IRCC for all provincial and territorial governments has hinted at the realignment of the postgraduate work permit with labour needs in the country. The survey document outlines that the aim of the upcoming reforms is to “Adjust PGWP eligibility to match labour market demands, decrease the total number of PGWP holders, and enhance the chances that international students achieve labour market results that correspond with their education and skills.”

IRCC’s survey consists of 8 questions and each of these questions is a window into IRCC’s thinking about the future of the Postgraduate Work Permit. The following are the questions:

  1. “If PGWP eligibility were limited exclusively to occupations facing shortages and their relevant study programs, which specific occupations should be included according to the needs in your region?”
  2. Which, if any, groups should be excluded from these changes, such as francophone students, graduate degree programs, or others? Please provide the reasoning behind your choices.
  3. Should international students show evidence of a job offer corresponding to the occupational shortage list to retain a PGWP for more than one year?
  4. Should additional eligibility criteria (such as language proficiency, provincial support, etc.), besides having a job offer, be applied to PGWP holders who wish to extend their permit beyond one year?
  5. What is your opinion on implementing these labor market-based changes to PGWP eligibility for all graduates immediately upon announcement this year, instead of exempting students who are already studying in Canada at the time of implementation?
  6. How frequently should the occupational shortage list be updated, and when should these updates be applied to students who are already in the midst of their studies?
  7. Do the proposed changes to the PGWP align with the type of candidates you wish to retain as long-term workers in your jurisdictions?
  8. Is your Provincial Nominee Program capable of providing a viable pathway to permanent residence for international graduates who have job offers in these critical sectors?


The survey has garnered significant attention from international educators and stakeholders, both within Canada and internationally. Question #5, in particular, has sparked intense discussions among colleagues as the survey circulated. This question implies that changes to the PGWP could be implemented immediately, affecting students who are currently enrolled or about to graduate from their programs in Canada.

There are clear signs that the policy measures recently implemented by the Canadian government, especially the enrollment cap, are significantly reducing application volumes and enrollments this year. This situation demands exceptional caution moving forward, as any additional policy changes could jeopardize one of the country’s leading export sectors and potentially place the industry in a position from which recovery could take years.

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