Canada Changes Post-graduate Work Programme For Nigerians

  • The Canadian government is tinkering with the Post-Graduate Work Permit scheme for international students
  • The government said it is seeking public input on which profession or occupation would be eligible for the change
  • Before now, international students have been allowed to work in any field without restrictions

The Canadian government is considering changing the Post-Graduate Work Permit Programme (PGWP) to allow access to the PGWP and align it with labour needs.

The government previously hinted at this in an announcement regarding international education sector reforms and disclosed it in a document shared with provinces and educational institutions.

Canada to realign eligibility for PGWP

A document from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) disclosed that the consultations aim to align the programme’s eligibility with labour market needs while reducing the overall volume of PGWP holders and increasing the likelihood that international students will have labour market outcomes that align with their education and training. 

The adjustment would alter the current scheme, which lets all foreign graduates from publicly funded higher education programmes work in any sector without restrictions. 

The IRCC is now asking for feedback on which professions or occupations should be qualified for the PGWP in different regions or if any student groups should be excluded from the changes.

The IRCC cited an example of French-speaking students and those with graduate degrees and if additional requirements such as proof of a job offer in a particular shortage occupation or language proficiency should be necessary for PGWP scheme eligibility beyond a year.

Also, the IRCC asks if these changes should affect all graduates immediately after they are announced or if a new approach should be taken to allow current students to remain eligible under the existing guidelines.

Canada discontinues PGWP for some foreign students

According to reports, the government is also exploring if the proposed changes would meet the needs of the workforce of various jurisdictions and if provinces can provide a workable path to permanent residency for international graduates with job offers in critical sectors.

Early this year, the IRCC began implementing essential changes to the PGWP by discontinuing eligibility for students at public-private partnership colleges and capping post-secondary study permits below the master’s degree level.

Marc Miller, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, stressed that the measures were necessary as the rapid rise in international students had put undue pressure on housing, healthcare, and other services.

The development follows the directive by the United Kingdom government stopping Nigerians and other foreign care workers from bringing dependents.

Experts call for caution

Analysts believe the move by Canada would affect international students already studying in the country,

They say if the proposed changes are implemented, foreign students would face challenges in continuing their education.

Henry Uche, a travel advisor and CEO of Goodwinds Travels and Tours said the country might be taking the measure as it now faces a huge housing deficit.

“Already the housing scheme in Canada is facing a massive issue, prompting the government from exempting foreigners from owning houses for a certain period.

He said that similar programmes by the UK government are already facing a backlash and some schools are at risk of closure due to the dearth of international students.

“I believe the new change won’t be implemented wholesale as it may affect their educational system, which is now a major source of revenue,” he said.


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