Post-Graduation Work Permit

One of the mainstays of Canada’s immigration system is the post-graduation work permit (PGWP), which permits foreign students to work in Canada for a maximum of three years after they graduate from Canadian institutions and colleges. Additionally, the post-graduation employment permit facilitates graduates’ transfer to Canadian permanent residence status.

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Being an open work permit, the PGWP gives its user the freedom to work for any employer in any part of Canada and to switch jobs whenever they choose.

Special Initiative for Post-Graduation Work Permits That Expire in 2023

International graduates may be eligible for an additional or extended work permit, allowing them to maintain their status for a maximum of 18 months, if their PGWP expires in 2023.

PGWP holders will be able to choose to participate in a facilitative process to extend their work permit as of April 6, 2023, thanks to these provisions.

In addition, foreign nationals who qualified for the 2022 PGWP facilitative measure and whose PGWP has already expired in 2023 will be able to apply for an additional 18-month work permit. Even after the 90-day restoration period has passed, those whose work permits have expired can still restore their status. They will be issued an interim work authorization while their new work permit application is being processed.

For holders of Post-Graduation Work Permits whose work permits expire between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2022, Canada launched a new open work permit program in August 2022. These workers can also apply for a new work permit or extend their current one, allowing them to continue working in Canada for an extra 18 months. Those who are already in Canada will also be able to work throughout the time when a new or extended permission is being issued.

How to apply for a PGWP

For whom is a PGWP appropriate?

You have to be out of Canada or currently have a valid temporary status in order to apply for a post-graduation work permit. You have to be a graduate of a recognized learning institution (DLI) that qualifies. Also, you have to provide concrete proof that you fulfill each of the following requirements:

  • You have finished a minimum of eight-month academic, vocational, or professional training program at an approved Canadian institution, culminating in a degree, diploma, or certificate.
  • Throughout each academic term of the program or programs of study they have finished and filed as part of their application for a work visa after graduation, you have remained a full-time student in Canada. Only the following are eligible for an exception: leave from school, the end of the academic year, or COVID-19-related reasons (more on this below).
  • The eligible DLI has sent you an official letter and a transcript attesting to your completion of the requirements necessary for your program of study. A post-graduation work permit application must contain the transcript and official letter.

A unique guideline for studying online during the COVID-19 pandemic

You can finish all of your coursework online from overseas during the epidemic and still be qualified for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). Between spring 2020 and August 31, 2022, any studies finished outside of Canada are included in calculating the duration of a PGWP. Even if you’re finishing two study programs, this still holds true. “All international students who are enrolled in a PGWP-eligible program, and meet all other PGWP criteria,” are covered by these relaxed restrictions.

In addition, you have to fulfill one of the following requirements within 180 days after the date on which you applied for the post-graduation work permit:

  • You are in possession of a valid study permit, OR
  • you previously held a study permit, OR
  • the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations’ paragraphs 188(1)(a) and (b) permitted you to study in Canada without first obtaining a study permit. This list excludes private staff of diplomats, members of specific foreign armed forces, and indigenous people; however, it does include individuals enrolled in a course or study program that lasts six months or less and will be finished within the time frame permitted for their stay upon entry into Canada.

Canada encourages foreign graduates and students to choose a long-term career here. The post-graduation work permit program enables graduates of participating Canadian post-secondary institutions to obtain worthwhile Canadian work experience in order to support this objective.

Graduates with this experience not only profit professionally, but they can also take advantage of permanent residence immigration schemes like the Canadian Experience Class, which reward work experience in Canada.

Depending on how long the candidate studied in Canada, a post-graduation work permit could be available for up to three years. Furthermore, the post-graduation work visa is an open work permit, meaning that its holder is not limited to any one employer and can work anywhere in Canada. Prior to the worker starting work in Canada, neither the employer nor the applicant must complete a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

The term “post-graduate work permit” is occasionally used to refer to the post-graduation employment permit.

Colleges and universities that qualify

The following must be the case for the educational establishment: The applicant needs to show proof that the program or programs of study were completed in Canada at one of the authorized Canadian learning institutions (DLIs) listed below.

  • a private post-secondary institution operating under the same rules and regulations as public institutions in Quebec;
  • a private secondary or post-secondary institution in Quebec offering qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer leading to an attestation of vocational specialization (AVS) or a diploma of vocational studies (DVS); or
  • a public post-secondary institution, such as a college, trade or technical school, university, or CEGEP (in Quebec);
  • a private, Canadian institution permitted by provincial statute to award degrees, including associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees; however, this authorization only applies to students enrolled in degree-granting programs approved by the province, which may not include all of the private institution’s course offerings.

Check the DLI list to make sure the schools are eligible.

Applications may be sent in on paper or on the internet.

Duration of work permit

The duration of the study program determines the validity period of the post-graduation work permit.

Duration of study program Duration of work permit
Less than 8 months Not eligible
8 months to 1 year Up to 8 months
1 year to 2 years Up to the same length as the study program
2 years or more Up to 3 years

How much time does it take to issue a PGWP?

This is dependent upon the applicant’s current location at the time of PGWP application. Processing of PGWP submitted in Canada currently takes four months. The processing office’s processing delays will determine the processing times for applications filed outside of Canada.

Can candidates work while their PGWP is being processed?

Yes, applicants who hold a valid study permit at the time of application submission, have completed their program of study, and have complied with all study permit requirements are permitted to work full-time while their PGWP application is being processed.

The reasons why candidates might receive a shorter PGWP than anticipated.

Imagine receiving your PGWP at last, only to find it is shorter than you anticipated! There are several possible causes for this, the primary one being the expiration of your passport. Your PGWP will expire in six months along with your passport.

Is a PGWP extendable?

A PGWP can only be extended in one method. That is, assuming the applicant’s passport validity was the only limit on the PGWP’s initial length.

How much PGWP is awarded to students?

Even if a student completes more coursework after receiving their first PGWP, they are only ever eligible for one PGWP. This means that if applicants want to continue studying in Canada after they are accepted, they should be aware of PGWP lengths when they apply for study programs.

What effect do expedited studies have on the PGWP’s duration?

When studies are expedited, the PGWP is evaluated based on the duration of the study program rather than the amount of time needed to finish the study. For example, if a two-year program was finished in eighteen months, the PGWP will also last two years.

Can employment gained while on a PGWP be applied toward permanent residency?

The majority of the time, work experience gained while on a PGWP can be used to determine an applicant’s eligibility for permanent residency. Actually, a few PNPs target foreign students who are enrolled in Canadian universities.

What is the price of a PGWP?

A PGWP is $155 Canadian. The applicant is required to pay an open work permit charge of $100 CAD in addition to the PGWP fee.

Can spouses obtain a permission to work?

Yes, in the event that the PGWP candidate is employed in Canada, spouses may apply for an open work permit.

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