A complete guide on how to get post graduate work permit in Canada.
What is a Post Graduation Work Permit- PGWP?
Post Graduation Work Permit- PGWP is an open work permit for international students who graduate from a Canadian study program, a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI), or any authorized professional training program. The post-graduation work permit allows foreign nationals the liberty to work for any Canadian employer, anywhere in Canada, for as many hours as they wish and gain Canadian work experience.
The Canadian Government provides the Post Graduate Work Permit also as an effort to attract international students.
Post-graduation work permits have a validity ranging from eight months up to three years. The post-graduation work permit is an excellent way for international graduates to gain valuable Canadian work experience, eventually opening opportunities to gain Canadian permanent residency and Canadian immigration.
Not all study programs in Canada are eligible for a PGWP. So, it is essential before selecting a study program to check if it is suitable for a PGWP.
Unlike most of the work permits of Canada, the post-graduation work permit does not require a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The post-graduation work permit grants international students eligibility for Canadian permanent resident status in any of the following ways:
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
- Federal Skilled Worker (FSW)
- Federal Skilled Trades (FST)
- Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP)
- Quebec Immigration Programs
Are you eligible for a PGWP?
Eligibility for a post-graduation work permit:
To stand eligible for a post-graduation work permit, a person of foreign nationality must be of a minimum of 18 years of age and have been a full-time student in a Canadian study program and completed their study program at a Designated Learning Institution (DIL).
To be eligible to apply for a work permit, an international graduate has to apply within a maximum of 180 days of completing their study program.
If the application is made from inside Canada, the applicant must hold a valid status. If the applicant’s study permit expires or is dated to expire, they can apply for a visitor status before applying for the post-graduation work permit.
Applicants who have applied for a post-graduation work permit before the expiry of their study permit stand eligible to start working full time as soon as they want while processing their application.
Within 180 days of receiving an official letter or transcript from their institution confirming that they have completed their program of study, international graduates must apply for a PGWP.
Levels Of Study That Are Eligible For A PGWP:
Following are the courses or levels of studies that allows one to apply for a post graduate work permit:
- Public post-secondary schools, like a college, trade or technical school or university, or a CEGEP in Quebec.
- Private post-secondary schools operate under the same rules as public schools and only certain Quebec institutions.
- Private- secondary or post-secondary school in Quebec that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or more which leads to a Diplôme d’Études Professionnelles -DEP or an Attestation de Spécialisation Professionnelle -ASP under provincial law
- Canadian private school that legally can award degrees under provincial law only to those enrolled in study programs leading to a degree authorized by the province
What is a Study Permit?
In Canada, a student visa is known as a Study Permit. It is required for an international student to have a study permit to study in Canada in an institution that legally awards degrees. The expiry date of a study permit is the duration of your program.
You can visit your nearest visa office to apply for a student visa.
Not eligible if:
International students will not be eligible for a PGWP if they received specific scholarships, like the ones funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC), participated in the Government of Canada Awards Program sponsored by GAC, Equal Opportunity Scholarship, participated in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program, however, this does not apply to people who received a scholarship through the “Study in Canada Scholarships” program.
How Long is a Post Graduation Work Permit Valid?
If the applicant’s program was less than 8 months:
Programs for the length of fewer than 8 months are not eligible for a PGWP.
If the program was at least 8 months, but less than 2 years:
A PGWP may be given that is valid for up to approximately the same duration as the study program.
For example- for a program of study 10 months, a PGWP valid for 10 months may be given.
If the program was 2 years or more:
A PGWP valid for 3 years may be given.
If you have completed more than 1 program:
A PGWP that combines the length of each program may be given if each program is PGWP- eligible and is of at least 8 months or between 8 months to 3 years.
A PGWP will not be given if you have already had one after completing an earlier program of study.
If distance learning
If you had distance learning combined with in-person classes, then a PGWP valid for the duration you had in-person classes may be given, which may not count if that was only the final semester.
A few cases where an international student can be eligible for a PGWP if they completed an accelerated or distance learning program or requested leave from studies.
How to apply for a post graduate work permit
You have up to 180 days to apply for a post-graduation work permit after obtaining:
- degree or diploma
- official transcript
- official letter from your school
If you are applying for the PGWP from outside of Canada, a medical exam is needed to enter Canada.
Suppose your study permit expires before getting your marks. In that case, there are 2 options available for you:
- using a visitor record to stay in Canada longer
- or leaving Canada and submitting your PGWP application.
Suppose your study permit expires before you apply, and you do not change your full-time student status to a visitor. In that case, you have up to 90 days after your study permit expires to apply for a post-graduate work permit and restore your student status with a valid study permit.
Is a job offer required?
You do not need an official job offer to apply for a PGWP.
To get a valid study permit and restore your student status:
- apply online for your PGWP and pay the correct fees 255$
- and pay a fee to restore and status as a student- 350$
- Due to system limitations, after paying the fees to restore your student status, you need to attach a receipt copy to your online PGWP application.
- Unless and until both your study and work permits are approved, you won’t be allowed to work.
- If the 90 days have already passed, and you did not apply, you will need to leave Canada.
If you need to change the condition or extend your PGWP:
On-paper application is necessary if extending or changing conditions of PGWP. Your PGWP can only be opened if your passport expires before PGWP’s validity period.
Applying online helps you:
- There would be no courier fees or mail delivery time, and your application will be instantly received.
- It would help make sure the application is complete before applying.
- If asked by program officers, easier for you to provide more documents.
- You will get updates on your application status.
Online- 107 days
Paper- 107 days
Working while your application is under processing:
You are eligible to work full time until a decision is made if you meet the following criteria by Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations- IRPR:
- applied after your final academic session and had a valid study permit during the time you submitted your application
- completed your program of study
- were allowed to work off-campus without a work permit while studying and not work more hours than allowed.
If you meet these conditions, then you can work by providing a copy of the required documents to your employer as proof.
If you do not meet these conditions, you will have to wait until you get your permit, as it is illegal in Canada to work without authorization.
Visitor visa or eTA required?
If you apply from outside of Canada, a new visitor visa or Electronic Travel Authorization- ETA will be issued to you when your post-graduate work permit application is approved.
For Spouses or common-law partners:
If your post-graduate work permit gets approved, your spouse or common-law partner may be eligible for an open work permit.
How many times can you apply for a PGWP?
You can only apply for a PGWP once. So, if you plan on taking another study program as a continuation of your first program or taking a longer degree course, plan your PGWP application accordingly.
Canadian Immigration and How Does a PGWP Help?
The Canadian post-graduation work permit is explicitly devised to offer easy and efficient ways for all graduates and international students pursuing their education in Canada to have access to permanent residency status in the country.
Acting as a bridge between Canadian education and meaningful full-time work experience in the country, PGWP brings a candidate in a great position to be eligible to apply under the Canadian Experience Class within the Express Entry immigration system.
Holding a credential of Canadian Education and work experience is important in ensuring that an applicant of Express Entry gains valuable extra points in their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, making them more competitive among other numerous applicants for Canadian immigration.
PGWP is crucial for an international student to obtain status as a permanent citizen of Canada eventually.
So, this is all we have for you on Post Graduate Work Permit.
If you are studying in Canada, or have recently graduated, do apply for the work permit to build a successful career in Canada. Canada is known to have an excellent work life.