A temporary government policy introduced on April 6, 2023, and ending on December 31, 2023, allows Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holders in Canada whose permits expired or will expire between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2023, to either maintain or restore their status and obtain an open work permit. This permits them to both support themselves and address labor market requirements in Canada. All applications must be submitted before the policy expires on December 31, 2023.

Why did they make this public policy?

This public policy addresses the ongoing challenges of low unemployment rates and a shortage of available workers that employers are facing. It aims to ease access to open work permits, assisting employers in filling job positions and preventing workers from having to quit their jobs and leave the country. Eligible PGWP holders and former holders in Canada can either work temporarily without additional authorization, apply for an open work permit from within Canada to restore their status, or apply for one from outside Canada if they left the country.

person working

Interim Work Authorization

The Interim Work Authorization (IWA) letters were sent to Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holders whose permits expire between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2023, on April 5, 2023. This IWA allows them to work in Canada until May 31, 2024, while they apply for a new open work permit under a recent public policy and await a decision. Importantly, the IWA doesn’t grant temporary resident status, so if the holder loses their status, the time worked under IWA doesn’t count as Canadian work experience for purposes like permanent residency or accessing healthcare services. It’s also not a travel document or an entry permit for Canada.

Who's eligible?

To be eligible for this public policy, foreign nationals must meet the following criteria:

  1. They must have or have had a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) with an expiration date falling between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2023.
  2. They must submit an online application for an open work permit between April 6, 2023, and December 31, 2023. Paper applications are allowed only in cases where online application is not possible due to disability or technical issues.
  3. They need to request an open work permit with a maximum duration of 18 months and specify their consideration under this particular public policy.
  4. If applicable, they must also apply for the restoration of their temporary resident status.

Restoring status

Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria and have lost their status between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2023, are required to simultaneously apply for both an open work permit and the restoration of their temporary resident status.

Notably, this public policy exempts eligible applicants from the standard 90-day restoration period.