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Canada Makes Decision on Post-Graduate Work Permits, Work Hours for Students

Canadian government has decided not to extend a temporary policy that grants an additional 18-month work permit to holders of post-graduation work permits (PGWPs) whose permits had expired or were nearing expiration.

The latest development will affect international students, including Nigerians, whose PGWPs are set to expire after December 31, 2023.

This change is part of the three temporary policies recently announced by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marc Miller.

One of the changes is doubling the minimum cost of living financial requirement for international students by 106.4% to $20,635.

“The announcement means foreign nationals with a PGWP expiring up to December 31, 2023, remain eligible to apply.

“However, they have not extended this policy for those whose PGWPs are expiring on January 1, 2024. This will come as a big blow as the students will now have to plan what to do next in just few days.”

For Nigerians affected, the options available to avoid becoming illegal immigrants are to either get married to a Canadian Permanent Resident holder, seek asylum or get a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) document from a company with vacancies.

The LMIA is a document that an employer in Canada needs to get before hiring a foreign worker.

A positive LMA will show a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker or permanent resident is available to do that job.

Another change the Canadian government implemented concerns the work-hour limit, which brings good news.

Canada’s immigration has extended the waiver on the 20-hour-per-week limit for international students’ off-campus work during class sessions until April 30, 2024.

Consequently, students can work longer hours while studying for the next four months. However, this condition applies only to international students already in Canada or those who applied for a study permit by December 7, 2023.

Those submitting applications after this date must adhere to the 20-hour-per-week work norm.

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