Post-Graduation Work Permit Overview
Upon completion of the study program in one of the accredited educational institutions of Canada, foreign students can apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), which allows legal employment in Canada.
The IRCC (Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada) issues a PGWP for up to three years. Eligible graduates can work for a Canadian company in any field. Besides, they don’t need a job offer when applying for the Post-Graduation Work Permit.
Previously, students had to submit their application for a PGWP within 90 days. Now, according to new regulations, they have 180 days to apply for the post-graduation work permit. During that time, they don’t have to hold a valid student permit anymore. The validity of a study permit can end any time during a 180-period. The count time begins from the moment a student receives his final transcripts and an official letter stating that he has completed his study programs.
Students can submit their post-graduation work permit application outside Canada. It means they can return to their home country without losing their chances to receive a post-graduation work permit.
Post-Graduation Work Permit Eligibility Requirements
To apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, you must either hold a valid temporary status or apply from your home country. You must complete a full-time study program and meet the following criteria:
- The study program must be a minimum of two years in order for a graduate to obtain a three- year work permit. However, if the program was less than two years, but longer than eight months, you can still obtain a work permit for the same duration as the program of study. In cases where you obtain a one- year degree or diploma from an accredited educational institution within two years of having successfully completed a previous accredited Canadian post-secondary degree or diploma, you may qualify for a three-year open work permit; and
- While you must have been studying full-time in the eight months preceding the date of application for an open work permit, an exception is made if a student meets all the requirements; except full-time study, in the last session of their program. For example, if you only need two courses in the final session to complete the program, but all previous studies have been full-time, you may still apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program.
- You must provide a transcript and an official letter from the eligible Designated Learning Institution (DLI) confirming that he met the requirements to complete his study program of study. Both should be included in a post-graduation work permit application.
If you hold this type of permit, you will be able to work for any employer and there’s no need for your employer to acquire a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
Eligible Universities for a Post-Graduation Work Permit
The educational institution must meet certain eligibility criteria. Public as well as private post-secondary colleges or universities must be authorized to award bachelor’s, Master’s or Ph.D. Degrees. This also includes institutions run under the same rules and regulations in Quebec.
A private secondary or post-secondary institution in Quebec must offer not less than 900-hour programs that lead to a diploma of vocational studies (DVS) or an attestation of vocational specialization (AVS).
Keep in mind that not all post-secondary institutions of Canada can make you eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit. To learn more about DLI for a PGWP, check this list.
What You Must Know About Post-Graduation Work Permit
If you are planning to stay in Canada after completion of your studies, we recommend that you choose the immigration program that fits you best. For many programs as well as for employers, the evidence of work experience in Canada or in any of its provinces is vital. This is why you have to start acquiring this experience as soon as possible. A perfect way of getting professional experience are internship programs and volunteer opportunities during the holidays. As a student, you have the right to work on campus. And after 6 months from the beginning of a study semester, you can apply for a work permit off-campus.
Other Immigration Programs to Get a PR in Canada
After working one year in Canada, you can apply for permanent residence. And after three years of living in Canada, you will get the right to apply for citizenship.
While a Post-Graduation Program is an excellent way to immigrate to Canada, it's not the only one. There is a Canadian Experience Class for foreigners who have at least one year of Canadian work experience. The program seeks to give priority to individuals who have already established themselves in the country. Therefore, the application process for such candidates is fast and guarantees a 100% success.
Another pathway for immigration is a Federal Skilled Program under the Express Entry System. This program covers professionals Canada need most. All applicants get a CRS score, based on their personal characteristics and qualifications. Only candidates with the highest scores get an invitation allowing them to climb the next step.
The Canadian province where you studied may have a Provincial Nominee Program. So you might be eligible to apply for permanent residence under its PNP Express Entry. Besides, some provinces allow former international students to apply under their PNP, even if they studied in a different province.