Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has established a new public policy to enable certain international graduates who had previously been refused a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) to re-submit their applications.
Eligible international graduates who have completed a study program at a recognized Canadian institution may apply for a PGWP. A PGWP is an open work permit allows the holder to work anywhere in Canada for any employer, and may be issued for up to three years, depending on the length of the applicant’s study program.
Under the terms of the public policy outlined this week, international graduates who have previously had an application for a PGWP refused may be eligible to re-submit if:
This policy also outlines how foreign nationals who meet the above criteria may also be considered for restoration of temporary resident status. According to an Operational Bulletin published by the government of Canada on October 17, 2016, ‘The public policy waives the requirement that an application to restore temporary resident status be made within 90 days of losing temporary resident status. Therefore, if an eligible foreign national in Canada is without status and is past their 90-day restoration period, they may still apply for an open work permit under the public policy.’
All applications submitted under the public policy must be received by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) by March 17, 2017.
Rajendra Prasad Appidy came to Canada from India to pursue post-secondary studies. After completing a one-year program in Information Security Management at Fanshawe College in Ontario, he decided to continue his studies at Niagara College, Ontario. He chose this college for its General Arts and Science program, which allowed him to transfer his credits from Fanshawe College and complete the normally two-year program in one semester. Out of the six courses Appidy took at Niagara College, five were online courses.
However, when Appidy applied for a PGWP after graduating from Niagara College, his application was refused. The reason for the refusal was that the majority of his program of study at Niagara College was comprised of online courses, and graduates of distance learning programs are not eligible for a PGWP.
Appidy appealed the refusal, arguing that he completed two years of full-time education in Canada and that he took only 25 percent of his courses online. Moreover, the officer evaluating the application did not consider Appidy’s previous courses at Fanshawe College when making the decision to refuse the application. When his courses at Fanshawe College were considered with his courses at Niagara College, 75 percent of his courses over two years of full-time study were taken in class.
The officer maintained that the courses undertaken at Fanshawe College could not be taken into consideration because they were completed more than 90 days before Appidy’s application for a PGWP was submitted. According to the regulations relating to the processing of PGWP applications, an international graduate must submit his or her application within 90 days of receiving written confirmation that the graduate has completed the requirements of the study program. Therefore, the officer considered the application solely on the basis of the courses taken at Niagara College. As these courses were mostly online, the application was refused.
In December 2015, a Federal Court judge ruled that Appidy’s application for judicial review was allowed, based on the decision that the immigration officer had been unreasonable in ignoring Appidy’s study program at Fanshawe College. As Appidy’s credits from Fanshawe College were required in order for Appidy to complete the study program at Niagara College, the credits from Fanshawe College could not be discounted from consideration. Consequently, the delay of 90 days since the completion of the study program at Fanshawe College was not relevant.
The case of Appidy v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) is important because it resulted in the reconsideration of an application that was refused on unreasonable grounds. Furthermore, it is unusual that an individual’s appeal for judicial review causes the creation of a new policy in a department of the federal government. Individuals who meet the three criteria outlined above may re-submit their application for a PGWP without having to pay any further application fees.
“The establishment of this new public policy is a laudable action on the part of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“It is not unusual that an applicant to a Canadian immigration or temporary residence program appeals a refusal, and the Canadian legal system is set up to accommodate appeals. Indeed, many success stories emerge out of the appeals process. As a result of this public policy, graduates who received similar unreasonable refusals for a post-graduation work permit may avoid the lengthy court appeal process, and move on with their pathway to working and settling in Canada.”
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