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Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on March 29.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

International students who’ve graduated from Canadian postsecondary schools will be able to stay in Canada longer now that the federal government has offered a temporary program to help them qualify for permanent residency.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said Friday that beginning this summer, graduates with work permits that expire in 2022 will qualify for an extension of up to 18 months.

The minister said details about the expedited process have not been finalized and are expected to be released in the coming weeks.

Fraser is also reopening express entry draws in July for people looking to become permanent residents.

During the pandemic, the government paused applications for programs such as the Canadian experience class and federal skilled worker and federal skilled trades classes to work through a backlog.

The government says the “vast majority” of new applications to these classes will be processed within the six-month service standard.

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