The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) started in 2003 as a pilot program in selected provinces and expanded nationwide in 2005. Further enhancements in 2008 allowed recent graduates to obtain an open work permit for up to three years with no restrictions on the location of work, employer, occupation or requirement of a job offer. Eden Crossman, Yuqian Lu and Feng Hou analysed the data from 2008 to 2018 and found out how the program works in practice.
Canada is the leader in the growth of the number of international students. From 2008 to 2019, the number of permits issued to tertiary-level international students increased 2.8 times from 45,900 to 173,000. It is more than in other popular study destinations, such as the US, the UK and Australia. The researchers attribute this growth to the Canadian government’s efforts to attract international students.
The number of new PGWP holders increased more than 6 times, from 10,300 in 2008 to 64,700 in 2018. The number of students who received the PGWP under the age of 25 has been increasing over the years and was 49% in 2018, while the number of PGWP holders from 25 to 34 years old is decreasing. And only 5% of students aged 35 or over received a PGWP in 2018.
Ontario is the most desirable province to work in. 56% of graduates intend to work in Ontario. British Columbia (16%) and Quebec (11%) are also in the top 3.
Graduates’ median earnings in Canada
The median earnings of PGWP holders rose from $14,500 (in 2018 dollars) in 2008 to $26,800 in 2018. Men earn 11% more than women. By age, the workers over 35 have an expectedly higher income than the younger generation, but earnings growth was stronger for the younger age groups.
In 2018, the highest median earnings were in the territories, Alberta and Saskatchewan. The lowest earnings were reported by those employed in Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
By industry, PGWP holders employed in mining and oil and gas extraction had the highest median earnings in 2018 (CA$ 47,600). In contrast, the lowest earnings amounts were in educational services; administrative and support, waste management and remediation services; accommodation and food services; and retail trade (CA$ 19,500-22,800). However, the income growth in these industries was among the highest.
Transition to permanent residency
Almost three-quarters of all PGWP holders became permanent residents within five years of having obtained their PGWP.
Statistics show that Master’s graduates are the most successful in the transition to permanent residence status, followed by college graduates. PGWP holders who held a study permit at the doctoral level had the lowest transition rates.
It is curious that the term of obtaining permanent residency decreases over the years. That is, recent graduates receive this status faster than those who graduated 10 years ago.
The data shows that the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program works effectively and provides high chances for graduates to obtain permanent residency. On the one hand, the PGWPP allows international students to gain work experience in Canada required to apply for some permanent residence streams. On the other hand, the program facilitates international students’ contribution to the Canadian labour market.
You can find the full report on the Canada.ca website.
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