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Canada rolls out the mat for international students - No job offer needed for three year work permit

the CanadaVisa Team - 29 April, 2008

Through recent changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, Canada has made it easier for graduating international students to obtain work permits and acquire Canadian work experience. Not only will the changes help Canada’s international student retention rate and ease current skills shortages, but they will also help these students on their way to becoming successful Permanent Residents - new immigrants who have already integrated into Canadian society thanks to the education and work experience they have obtained in Canada.

International students who wish to contribute to the Canadian workforce upon graduating from eligible programs at certain Canadian post-secondary institutions now have more flexibility to do so. Effective immediately, the changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program remove the requirement to have a job offer at the time of application. International graduates can now obtain an open work permit, which means that they can work for any Canadian employer who offers them a job. The changes also allow international students the flexibility to work outside of their field of study, whereas previously, they were constrained to that field. In addition, where the program only allowed for work permits of one or two years, the duration of the work permit has now been extended to three years across the country.

"Open and longer work permits provide international students with more opportunities for Canadian work experience and skills development," stated Citizenship and Immigration Canada Minister Diane Finley when announcing the changes. "Our ability to retain international graduates with Canadian qualifications, work experience and familiarity with Canadian society, will help increase our competitiveness and benefit Canada as a whole."

The new Canadian Experience Class category of immigration, which will be rolled out towards the end of the summer, aims to make it easier for international students and foreign workers who are already in Canada with temporary status to become Canadian Permanent Residents. At least one year of work experience in a managerial, professional, or technical position will be required to apply for the Canadian Experience Class. With the new changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, this requirement will be much more manageable.

In 2007, 63,673 international students came to Canada and about 11,000 international graduates received work permits.

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