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Canada Post-Graduate Work Permit – Complete Guide

Post graduate work permit, a fast track way to obtain a permanent residence in Canada.

Post-graduation work permits (PGWPs) are Open Work Permits given to international students who graduate from a program of study in a Designated Learning Institute (DLI) (Universities or Colleges) in Canada.

Consequently, PGWPs allow the holder freedom to work for any employer, for as many hours they desire and in any part of Canada.

It is important to be aware that it is not all programs of study that is eligible for a post-graduation work permit, similarly, not every institute in Canada is a designated learning institute, where you can obtain a PGWP after graduation.

Therefore, make sure to verify the PGWP eligibility status before selecting a program or a DLI status before opting for an institution.

Importance of the PGWP

The Post-Graduate Work Permit does not require a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) like most Canadian work permits do.

PGWP’s assists Canadian foreign eligible graduates to have access to valuable Canadian work experience.

Thus, with good work experience in Canada, many international temporary residents become eligible for Canada’s permanent residency programs, which includes either of the following pathways:

Important information about Post Graduate Work Permits

  1. A post-graduate work permit is only valid for not more than three years.
  2. Post-Graduate Work Permits duration is not longer than the length of study program.
  3. In a nut shell, the Post-Graduate Work Permit will normally be approximately the same duration as the applicant’s program of study, which is often up to a maximum of three years.
  4. To be eligible more than 50% of your study program must be conducted via the traditional in-person classes.
  5. In addition, for a part-time program, or an accelerated studies, the duration of your PGWP will be equal to the length of your program of study, if it was taken in full-time.

Criteria for Eligibility for a PGWP

  • To qualify for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP), the international student must at least be 18 years of age and have graduated from a full-time program in Canada, which was for at least 8 months.
  • Furthermore, the program is expected to be completed at a Designated Learning Institution in any of the eligible types of programs.
  • In addition, to make application for the work permit, a foreign national must apply within 180 days after the finish of their study program.
  • Nevertheless, if a candidate is making applications from inside Canada, they required to be in a valid status at the time of application.
  • Also, if the study permit has expired or will expire they may make application for a visitor status before applying for the PGWP.
  • However, every applicants who apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit before the expiration of their study permits are eligible to start work full time as soon as possible, while their application is processing.
  • You may also apply for a PGWP from overseas.

Eligible Levels Of Study

The following study categories and programs are eligible for PGWPs:

  • Firstly, are public post-secondary schools, like colleges, trade/technical schools or universities, or CEGEP in Quebec.
  • Secondly, are private post-secondary schools, which operates under the same rules as public schools (only applies to certain institutions in Quebec).
  • Thirdly, are private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer, leading to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de specialization professionnelle (ASP).
  • Fourthly, are Canadian private schools, which have the authority to legally award degrees under provincial laws. However, only for those enrolled in study programs leading to a degree as authorized by the province.

How long does it take to get a PGWP?

The average PGWP period can be anywhere from 80 to 180 days of processing time. Nevertheless,  you are licensed to work in while you await your PGWP, as long as you applied before the expiry date of your student permit.

180 days is available to you to make your application for your PGWP from the date you completed all the requirements of your study program.

However, if it happens that you leave Canada after your studies, you may also apply for a PGWP from overseas.

Therefore, previous applications for post-graduation work permit will be required to be submitted strictly from within Canada.

In addition, if a Post-Graduate Work Permit application is submitted from outside Canada, certain additional documents may be demanded, it however,  this depends on the visa office in charge of the processing.

Can I apply for a work permit after my PGWP?

The answer is yes, there isn’t any much ado about the PGWP that should stop you from applying for another work permit thereafter.

Similarly, you are permitted to apply for both an LMIA and LMIA exempt permit if you meet the criteria.

However, it might be better to apply for Canadian permanent residence since you already have the necessary Canadian work experience.

Can I work after graduation before I apply for my PGWP?

As an international graduate applying for a PGWP before the expiry of your study permit you are permitted to begin legally working in Canada.

Therefore, you do not need to hold a Canadian work permit while you await a decision on their application for a PGWP.

Similarly, should your student permit be expired, you may notwithstanding be able to restore your status and apply, this is only possible, provided you have not been out of status for more than 90 days.

How many times can I apply for a PGWP?

You are only eligible to apply for a PGWP once in a lifetime. Nevertheless, if you plan to undergo another program of study that might be a continuation of your first program, or you are thinking about taking a longer degree program in Canada, you are advised to apply for your PGWP strategically.

Therefore, applying after the longest period of study will surely award you a PGWP with a longer validity, up to a maximum of three years.

How a PGWP can help you immigrate to Canada?

The Post- Graduation Work Program in Canada has been designed to provide you with a very efficient route as an international student in Canada to gain permanent residence status.

Thus, by transferring Canadian education into meaningful full-time work experience, a foreign student attains a great position to apply for permanent residence under the Canadian Express Entry immigration system..

Likewise, Post-Graduation Work Permits are excluded from Labour Market Impact Assessments. Thus, are designated open and coded as C43.

With a post-graduation work permit, just like many others with all open work permits, graduates can

  • work full time
  • work part time
  • be self-employed

Post-Graduation Eligibility Requirements

  • In order to get the post-graduation work permit, a candidate must currently hold a valid temporary status or must have left Canada.
  • Additionally, they must have graduated from an eligible designated learning institution (DLI).
  • Similarly, they must also submit clear evidence that they meet all of the following criteria:
    • They must demonstrate that they have completed an academic, vocational or professional training program at an eligible institution in Canada that lasted for at least 8 months in duration leading to the award of a degree, diploma or certificate.
    • They must have undergone and maintained a full-time student status in Canada during each academic session for the period of the program or programs of study they have completed and submitted same as part of their post-graduation work permit application. Nevertheless, there can be exceptions for the following:
  • They are required to have also received a transcript and an official letter from the eligible DLI confirming that they have satisfied the requirements to complete their program of study.

Important Notice

The transcript and official letters are two important documents, which must be included in the post-graduation work permit application.

Furthermore, applicants are expected to satisfy one of the following criteria within 180 days from the date of submitting an application for the post-graduation work permit.

  • Hold a valid study permit.
  • Hold a study permit.
  • Have been authorized to study in Canada without the requirement to obtain a study permit under paragraphs 188(1)(a) and (b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

However, a student will be ineligible for a post-graduation work permit if he or she has completed the following:

  • English as a second language or French as a second language program of study.
  • Completed a general interest or self-improvement courses
  • Studying a course or program at a private career college

Graduates of vocational and professional training programs in Quebec

In Quebec, vocational and professional training programs can be taken at the secondary or post-secondary level.

To be eligible for a post-graduation work permit in Quebec, the student must have graduated from a recognized secondary institution in Quebec with one of the following diplomas:

  • DVS
  • AVS

Therefore, the diploma must be issued by the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur (MEES) (Department of Education and Higher Education).

Eligible Applicants

Applicants who have graduated from Quebec vocational institutions with a DVS or AVS must fulfill all of the following criteria:

  • Must be 18 years of age or over at the time of application.
  • They must have completed a full-time vocational or professional training program at a registered institution in Quebec.
  • Have been in a program of study, which is a minimum of 900 hours (equivalent to 8 months).
  • Must submit an official letter from the institution outlining the duration of the program of study (in hours or months) to expedite the processing and subsequent issuance of the post-graduation work permit and also to ensure accurate duration of work authorization.
  • One of the following must be included in the work permit application:
    • Credential
    • Official attestation of program completion
    • An official transcript from a Quebec school board or private institution recognized by the MEES in support of the work permit application

Eligible Institutions

Eligible institutions includes; Quebec public and private secondary schools, and also vocational and professional training centres.

The following under listed should be validated to facilitate the processing of the PGWP.

  • schools
  • programs
  • length in hours
  • resulting credential

Likewise, eligible candidates who have changed institutions in the course of their training program are nonetheless, required to have a total of at least 900 hours (equivalent to 8 months) of course work at an eligible institution in Quebec.