Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Canada

Updated on

09-02-2024

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Canada

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Post-Graduation Work Permit or PGWP Canada is an open work permit that allows international students to work in Canada full-time for up to three years after graduation. PGWP is an integral part of Canada’s immigration system, enabling international students to gain valuable Canadian work experience and plan a long-term career in the country. Moreover, PGWP facilitates a smooth transition for students into permanent resident (PR) status in Canada.

According to a 2022 Statistics Canada report, the number of PGWP holders has risen consistently every year. 29% of graduates in the 2008 cohort held a PGWP five years later, compared to 52% for the 2013 graduates. The total number of PGWP holders rose from 10,300 in 2008 to 64,700 in 2018. However, starting September 1, 2024, international students at public-private partnership colleges will no longer be eligible for PGWP.

To know about the PGWP new rules, who can apply, how to apply, duration, fees, etc., read this entire blog.  

Table of Contents

What is the PGWP?

PGWP is a valid work permit for international students who have graduated from designated learning institutions (DLIs) to work in Canada after graduation. In other words, PGWP grants foreign nationals the freedom to work for any employer, anywhere in Canada. The purpose of PGWP is to retain talented professionals who have graduated from Canadian universities and colleges. 

PGWP Canada New Rules

On 17 March 2023, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that international graduates with an expired or expiring PGWP will have the opportunity for an additional 18-month work permit.

On 22 January 2024, IRCC announced that international students pursuing a study program in a public-private partnership (PPP) institution as part of a curriculum licensing agreement will not be eligible for PGWPs after their graduation. For Master’s graduates and graduates from short graduate-level programs, work permits will now be 3 years maximum. 

Immigration experts say that the PGWP cap on PPP institutions will reduce the number of international student applications by 35% overall.

Applying for a PGWP in Canada

Eligible graduates of Canadian educational institutions can apply for a PGWP within 180 days of graduating. Show proof that you attended and completed your program, the name and length of your program. Submit a degree, diploma, official letter from your academic institution, or an official transcript.

PGWP Canada Eligibility Requirements

If you are inside Canada, you are eligible if:

  • You have up to 180 days from the date of completion of your course, to apply for a PGWP.
  • You have an academic, vocational or professional training program (full-time) that is at least 8 months in duration leading to a bachelor’s/master’s/doctorate degree, diploma or certificate.
  • You confirm your program attendance, name, and duration of a program.
  • You have a valid Canadian study permit during these 180 days.
  • You have a valid visitor record.
  • Your in-person classes were changed to online mode.

If you are outside Canada, you are eligible if:

  • You apply for a PGWP within 180 days of completing your program. And submit your degree/diploma/transcript/official letter from your college or university.
  • You’ve been approved for a study permit
  • You maintained full-time student status during each semester of your course, with exceptions for the final semester, approved leaves, or COVID-19 related reasons. 
  • You were enrolled in a program that was in progress in March 2020 or started a program between Spring 2020 and Summer 2022. And these two academic programs are from a PGWP-eligible DLI with at least 8 months duration. 
  • You studied online from outside Canada between March 2020 and August 31, 2022, you didn’t require a valid study permit due to a temporary Covid-19 policy.

Exceptions to the PGWP eligibility:

You aren’t eligible for a PGWP if:

  • You studied English or French as a second language.
  • You took general interest or self-improvement courses.
  • You were funded by Global Affairs Canada (if you had a Study in Canada scholarship, you’re still eligible for a PGWP).
  • You completed the majority of your study program through distance education or distance learning (online courses, e-learning or correspondence).
  • You studied at a non-Canadian institution located in Canada.

When to submit a PGWP Application?

You can submit a PGWP application within 180 days of the date of graduation, provided you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You hold a valid study permit, OR
  • You held a study permit, OR
  • You were authorised to study in Canada without obtaining a study permit under paragraphs 188(1)(a) and (b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. It is limited to private staff who discharge their official duties as a diplomatic agent, consular officers, indigenous people, country’s representatives or armed forces of certain countries, and people who enrol in a study program that is six months or less and complete it within the period for their stay authorised upon entry into Canada.

PGWP Canada Validity

A Post-Graduation Work Permit is valid for up to (3) three years, depending on the length of your study program or the expiry date of your passport, whichever comes first. During this period, PGWP allows you to work in any location in Canada with any employer. Neither you nor your employer needs to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before your work begins.

PGWP Eligible universities and colleges

  • A public post-secondary institution like a college, a trade or technical school, an university, or a CEGEP (in Quebec); or
  • A private post-secondary institution with the same rules and regulations as public institutions (Quebec); or
  • A private secondary or higher secondary institution (Quebec) with qualified programs of 900 hours or longer leading to a diploma of vocational studies (DVS) or an attestation of vocational specialisation (AVS); or
  • A Canadian private institution authorised by a province to confer degrees (bachelor’sm, master’s or doctoral). It may not include all programs of study offered by the private institution. 

Some popular PGWP schools in Canada, include University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Manitoba, University of British Columbia (UBC) and Sheridan College.

Work Permit Duration

The work permit duration is based on the length of the study program. The table below tells you how long the post-graduate work permit is valid for various study programs.

Duration of study program Duration of work permit
Less than 8 months Not applicable (ineligible)
Between 8 and 24 months Valid for up to the same length as the study program
24 months (2 years) or longer Up to 3 years
More than 1 program May be valid for up to 3 years if more than 1 eligible study program is completed
Master’s or PhD program 3 years

PGWP Canada Processing Time

The processing time for Post-Graduate Work Permit ranges from 80 to 180 days. If you apply by mail, the processing time starts when your complete application arrives to the officer. If you apply online or in person, the processing time starts when you submit your application.

Can I work while waiting for my PGWP?

Yes, you can work full-time while waiting for your PGWP application if, all of the following applied to you at the time you submit your application:

  • You had a valid study permit.
  • You completed your study program.
  • You were eligible to work off campus without a permit.
  • You did not work off campus more than 20 hours per week during semesters.

Can a PGWP be extended?

Yes. You can only extend your PGWP if your passport expired before your PGWP’s validity period.

How many PGWP can a student get?

A student can get only (1) one PGWP. If the student has completed more than one study program, they may get a PGWP that combines the length of each program.

How do accelerated studies impact the length of the PGWP?

For accelerated studies, officers may consider the length of the study program with supporting documents to determine the duration of a Post-graduation work permit. Regularly scheduled breaks (like scheduled winter and summer breaks) are taken into consideration.

PGWP Fees: How much does a Post-Graduation Work Permit PGWP cost?

A fee of CAD 255 (INR 15,736) is charged for PGWP (CAD 155 is the base fee, and CAD 100 is the ‘Open Work Permit Holder’ fee). Similarly, a fee of CAD 634 (INR 39,124) is for the restoration of student status and PGWP.

Can spouses of PGWP holders get a work permit?

As per the latest IRCC’s announcements, open work permits will only be allowed to spouses of international students enrolled in Masters and doctoral programs as well as professional programs like Medicine and Law. Spouses of international students enrolled in undergraduate and other levels of study programs will no longer be eligible for open work permits.

Conclusion

The Canadian government offers Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) to attract highly skilled professionals into the Canadian job market. International students who meet the new PGWP rules, submit supporting documents and follow the application process can apply for a PGWP. In the long run, Canadian work experience gained through PGWP enables international graduates to qualify for PR in Canada through Express Entry.

FAQs

1. What is PGWP?

PGWP or Post-Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWPP) or Post-Graduate Work Permit in Canada or PGWP Canada is an open work permit that allows international students to work full-time in Canada after graduating with a DLI. The maximum length of PGWP is 3 years, meaning it is temporary. The Canadian government believes PGWP will let international graduates contribute to the Canadian workforce and build the economy.

2. After my graduation, can I work before applying for a PGWP?

No. You cannot work full-time or part-time after getting your final transcripts from college, even if your study permit is valid. You must apply for a PGWP within 180 days of your graduation.

3. Can I get a work permit after completing a one year course?

Yes. If you complete a 1 year study program in 8 months, you are eligible to get a work permit (PGWP) valid for 1 year.

4. Can I apply for PGWP again?

No. You cannot apply for PGWP again. It is issued only once per person.

5. How can a PGWP help you get a PR in Canada?

Here’s how a PGWP can help you get a PR in Canada:

  • The work experience gained through PGWP can enhance your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score in Express Entry, which will manage PR applications. 
  • Since many provinces in Canada have Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) for PR, your work experience in a specific province can make you eligible for PR nomination.
  • The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is another immigration program. As a skilled worker through PGWP, you may qualify for the CEC stream of Express Entry. 

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

No. After graduation, you cannot work before you apply for a PGWP unless you’ve already applied for a work permit or you’re starting a new study program.

7. Can I apply for a work permit after my PGWP?

Yes. You can apply for a work permit once your PGWP is about to expire. All you need to do is get a job offer from a Canadian employer who will sponsor your work permit. Since it involves several steps and eligibility requirements, make sure you and your employer meet them.

8. What if I have dependents?

If you have dependents while applying for a PGWP, extend their validity period before it’s too late. To do that, check the additional criteria and apply for an extension spouse/common-law partner’s work permit.

About Author Roshan Sunthar

Roshan Sunthar is a study abroad expert as well as a renowned writer and author in international education. His academic excellence and 5+ years of work experience give him in-depth knowledge of international standardised exams and test preparation in IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, PTE, SAT, etc. The study materials he prepares incorporate exam-like questions. He’s also an expert in writing Statement of Purposes (SOPs) and Letter of Recommendations (LORs) for college admissions. He usually spends his leisure time watching English classics and documentaries, travelling, etc.

Kanan International is a study abroad consultancy that offers reliable services, products, and solutions for students and education institutions. We support students throughout their study abroad journey, ensuring a hassle-free experience. Our expertise and commitment to excellence make us the go-to partner for expanding global horizons. The company provides coaching for IELTS, GRE, TOEFL, and SAT exams and services like visa consultation, accommodation, scholarship assistance, and education loans.