Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is an important pathway for international students aspiring to gain professional experience and potentially settle in Canada. This guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the PGWP, shedding light on its numerous benefits, the application process, and eligibility criteria.
What is Post-Graduation Work Permit?
The Post-Graduation Work Permit is a permit issued by the Government of Canada that allows international students who have completed a program of study at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada to work in the country after graduation.
The Role of Post-Graduation Work Permit in Your Canadian Journey
The Bridge to Canadian Work Experience
The primary advantage of the this work permit is its capacity to facilitate professional work experience for international students within Canada. This permit plays a critical role for those aiming for Canadian immigration. Several immigration pathways look favorably upon candidates with Canadian work and study experience.
Making Way for Permanent Residence
To become eligible for a Canadian permanent residence program, a PGWP holder typically needs a minimum of one year of professional work experience in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) code 0, A, or B.
The second key aspect to discuss is eligibility. The primary eligibility requirement for the Post-Graduation Work Permit is to maintain full-time student status throughout the academic program(s) completed.
The program must meet specific requirements:
- It should be at least eight months long
- It should lead to a degree, diploma, or certificate from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
- You need to have received a transcript and an official letter from the DLI confirming completion
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has made exceptions to these rules for students who began or will begin their program between spring 2020 and summer 2022.
What to Know About Applying for the PGWP
Although you can’t renew your Post-Graduation Work Permit, you may be able to extend it if its duration was limited by your passport’s expiration date. If this is the case, you need to apply for a work permit extension upon the renewal of your passport.
Different Types of Work Permits: The Alternatives
If your Post-Graduation Work Permit is expiring, you can consider applying for a different type of work permit, such as an open work permit or an employer-specific work permit. If you meet the requirements of these permits and apply before your PGWP expires, you may maintain status to continue working in Canada.
Continuing to Work While Awaiting PGWP Processing
Canadian immigration allows some graduates to work full-time without a work permit while waiting for a decision on their PGWP application, even if they leave and re-enter Canada. This flexibility is only available if:
- You had a valid study permit at the time of the application
- You have completed your program of study
- You did not exceed the allowable hours of work
If these conditions apply to you, you’re able to work full-time without a work permit while waiting for a decision on your application.
Understanding Study Permits and PGWP Application
The most important point to note is that a study permit becomes invalid 90 days after completing the study program. You must apply within 180 days of obtaining proof of completion. If your study permit becomes invalid or expires before you apply for a PGWP, you must either:
- Leave Canada and apply for a PGWP overseas
- Apply to restore your status as a student and pay the necessary fees
- Study in Canada: Your Ultimate Guide as an International Student
- The Ultimate Guide to the Student Direct Stream (SDS) Program for International Students
Considering Your Spouse or Partner
Last but not least, your spouse or common-law partner may be eligible to apply for a work permit under the C41 exemption. To qualify, you must:
- Be authorized to work in Canada for at least 6 months after their partner’s open work permit application is received
- Be employed in a high-skilled occupation (NOC 0, A, B)
- Be residing or planning to reside in Canada while employed
The Post-Graduation Work Permit provides an invaluable opportunity for international students to extend their stay in Canada and gain professional work experience. By adhering to the stipulated rules and policies of the PGWP, students can smoothly transition from graduation to gainful employment, thereby making the most out of their study abroad experience in Canada.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: What’s the importance of PGWP for Canadian work experience?
Q2: Who is eligible for the PGWP?
To qualify, you must have held a full-time student status throughout your program of study. Other criteria include completing an eligible program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), and receiving a transcript and an official letter of completion from the DLI.
Q3: Can the PGWP be renewed?
No, the PGWP cannot be renewed. However, if its duration was limited by your passport’s expiration date, you may extend it upon renewal of your passport.
Q4: What are the options if my PGWP expires?
Before the PGWP expires, you can apply for a different type of work permit, such as an open work permit or an employer-specific work permit.
Q5: What does “maintained status” mean?
Maintained status extends your authorized stay in Canada until a decision is made on your permit application, granting you legal status as a temporary resident.
Q6: Can I work while waiting for my PGWP application to be processed?
Yes, you can work full-time without a work permit if you applied for a PGWP before your study permit expired, completed your program of study, met the off-campus work requirements, and did not exceed allowable hours of work.
Q7: When does my study permit become invalid?
A study permit becomes invalid 90 days after the end of a study program. You must apply within 180 days of obtaining proof of program completion.
Q8: What if my study permit expires before I apply for a PGWP overseas?
Q9: What should I do with the 120 days validity notice upon receipt of the PGWP application?
The 120-day notice can be ignored. If a decision hasn’t been rendered after 120 days, request proof of work authorization using the IRCC web form.
Q10: Can spouses or partners of PGWP holders get a work permit
Yes, they may be eligible for a work permit under the C41 exemption, given certain conditions are met by the PGWP holder.
Latest Article in Newcomer Resources: