PGWP in Canada

  • By Kanan Team
  • Mon Mar 08 2021

Post-graduation work permit in Canada 

- Vyom Bhatt

Introduction to post-graduation work permit (PGWP) 

Almost all immigrants apply for a post-graduation work permit in Canada. A Post-Graduation work permit (PGWP) is a written authorization provided to international students who complete their graduation from Canadian colleges or university.  A post-graduation work permit in Canada allows the holder to take up employment opportunities and work in whichever field they like.

A work permit is usually offered for three years, and the duration of the work permit depends on the length of the study program. Post-Graduation Work permits are issued only once per person.

Why apply for PGWP? 

A Post-Graduation work permit enables you to stay in Canada after your graduation and helps you gain work experience in Canada, which will qualify a graduate to apply for permanent residence in Canada.

International students with Post-Graduation work permit remain as temporary residents in Canada, but if a graduate needs to stay longer, he/she can apply for permanent residence in Canada. Permanent residence grants the holder social benefits and can live, work, or study anywhere in Canada.

Receiving your PGWP results in the extension of your Medical Services Plan (MSP), the extension of your Social Insurance Number (SIN) and makes you eligible to apply for a new Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Also Read: Best places to study in Canada 

PGWP eligibility: Are you eligible for a PGWP?

After getting their final marks from their designated learning institute (DLI), a candidate has 180 days to apply for a PGWP. 

To be eligible to receive your work permit after study in Canada, you must have:

  • Finished a full-time study program from a Canadian designated learning institute (DLI) that lasted for at least eight months and should have led to a degree, diploma or certificate.
  • A valid student visa when you apply for the PGWP.
  • Studied full-time in each academic session, with two exceptions:
  • You studied part-time only in your final academic session.
  • You took a sanctioned gap in studies that lasted for less than 150 days.

You aren’t eligible for a PGWP if you have: 

  • Already received a PGWP
  • Studied English or French as a secondary language
  • Took general interest or self-improvement courses
  • Completed more than 50% of a study program by distance learning (online courses, e-learning or correspondence)
  • Completed a study program at a non-Canadian institution located in Canada.

Working before you apply: You can continue working up to 20 hours a week off-campus and/or full time on campus if you are eligible to work in your final term till your Letter of Completion becomes available.

pgwp eligible institutes and programs

Letter of completion is offered via SSC (Under Grades and Report) or via your program portal. Once you receive your letter of completion, you become ineligible to work on campus.

PGWP eligible institutes and programs:

Mostly all colleges and universities provide programs that make you eligible for your PGWP. For more details, you can check IRCC’s website.

Also Read: Best Intake season in Canada

Post-graduate work permit application: How to apply for PGWP:

There are two ways to apply for a Post-Graduation work permit. You can apply either through mail or online. Most individuals who are eligible for PGWP apply using the online mode because there are various advantages of applying through the online mode, such as:

  • No courier fees or mail delivery time incurred. 
  • Quick processing of your application.
  • It helps you make sure your application is complete before you submit it.
  • Submitting other/required documents online is easier.
  • Updates on the status of your application is sent directly to your online account.

How to apply for PGWP online on IRCC’s application portal:

Step 1: 

To apply online, you’ll need:

  • A scanner or mobile camera to create electronic copies of your documents
  • A valid credit or debit card.

Step 2: 

Reading the instruction guide before you complete your application. The guide explains how to complete each field on the form.

Step 3: 

Before you can upload your completed forms, you must answer some questions. IRCC uses your answers to create a personalized document checklist.

Step 4: 

Fees taken for applying for PGWP will include processing fees for you and anyone you include on your application. You’ll be required to pay your fees at the end of your application. You must pay both the open work permit holder fee and the work permit fee.

As a temporary measure due to Covid-19, if you’re in Canada and applying to work, study or stay temporarily in Canada, you do not need to give your biometrics.

Step 5: 

You need an account on IRCC to apply online. The online account can be used to

  • Pay your fees
  • Submit your application
  • Check your status
To apply for a Post-Graduation work permit, you will need 

Confirmation of completing your study program from your designated learning institute in Canada may include an official transcript or a copy of your transcript from your institute’s website. IRCC may request other documents once they receive your application.

PGWP Canada processing time: 

A PGWP application will be processed anywhere between 80 to 180 days. Every graduate from Canadian DLI has 180 days to apply for PGWP from the date they complete all their program of study requirements. You are free to work in Canada while you wait for your PGWP application approval process if you’ve applied before your study permit expires.

Working after you’ve applied: 

After you receive your Letter of Completion and apply for PGWP, you can start working full-time for any employer immediately while waiting for a decision from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) if:

· You have a valid study permit and apply within the first 90 days after your Letter of Completion first was received, and you have completed your program of study in its entirety at the time you submit your application.

  • You were eligible to work off-campus without a work permit during your studies.
  • You did not work for more than 20 hours per week, off-campus, during academic sessions.
  • If you apply for PGWP after your first 90 days of receiving the letter of completion, you will not be able to work in Canada until you receive a valid PGWP from IRCC.

Duration: Post-graduate work permit length 

The duration of your work permit after study in Canada will depend on the official length of your program of study. 

If the official length of your program of study is:

  • Less than eight months: You will not be eligible for the PGWP program.
  • More than eight months but less than two years: You will get a work permit for a period equivalent to your course duration.
  • Two years or more: You will be granted a work permit for the maximum period of three years.

PGWP after 16 months of study in Canada:

You may be issued a 3year post-graduation work permit if you have completed a master’s or PhD degree in Canada and have a written confirmation of program completion that the degree is 16 to 23 months in length from your Designated learning institution.

If your registered DLI confirms the program's length in the written confirmation of program completion, you will be issued a PGWP for a duration of 3 years from visa officials in Canada.

Can you apply for PGWP outside Canada? 

You are eligible to apply for your PGWP from outside of Canada, provided that you are still within 180 days from the date you completed your studies. You do not require a valid study permit or valid visitor status to apply for your PGWP from outside of Canada.

Post-graduation work permit extension: 

PGWP cannot be extended once its duration expires. PGWP is issued only once in a lifetime to individuals who have completed their PGWP eligible program at a designated learning institution in Canada.

What to do if your passport expires before your PGWP? 

You have to make sure that your passport is valid for the entire length of time as of your PGWP.

If your passport expires earlier than your PGWP would, the government of Canada will: 

  • Issue you a PGWP that will be valid only until your passport expires.
  • Tell you if you need to extend your passport to get the full validity of your PGWP.
Special cases: 

Various groups may or may not make you eligible for a PGWP.

Accelerated programs: 

If you can complete your study program in less time than the normal length of the program, you may be deemed eligible for a PGWP which will be valid for the full length of your program.

Distance learning: 

If you study distance learning for less than 50% of your study program, you may be deemed eligible for a PGWP. The length of the PGWP would match the length of your program, including both on-campus and distance courses. Any distance courses completed outside Canada won’t be included in the length of the PGWP after April 2021.

Taking leave from your studies: 

You won’t be deemed eligible for a PGWP if:

  • You take an unauthorized leave from your study program.
  • You don’t meet the conditions of your study permit by taking a leave.
Transfers between schools: 

You must spend at least eight months at the DLI to be eligible for a PGWP.

If you transferred between designated learning institutions (DLIs): The combined length of your studies will be counted.

If you transferred from a non-DLI to a DLI: Only the time you spend studying at the DLI will be counted. 

Canadian study programs with an overseas component: 

If your study program has an overseas component, you may be eligible for a PGWP as long as you earn credit from a Canadian DLI for it. 

Flight school graduates: 

To be eligible for a PGWP, a flight school graduate should meet all the eligibility requirements such as:

  • They should complete a flight training course at a DLI training centre and should have a Canadian commercial pilot’s license.
  • Should be in the process of getting an instructor’s rating and a job offer as a flight instructor from a DLI flight training centre.

Changes in PGWP introduced by the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) 

The Canadian government has introduced various new measures regarding PGWP due to the widespread outbreak of the ongoing pandemic. Because of Covid-19, many international students are not able to enter Canada due to travel restrictions.

Immigration, Refugees and, Citizenship, Canada (IRCC), keeping in mind the immigration problems caused due to the Coronavirus, made a significant announcement in May that distance learning obtained until December 31, 2020, would be counted in the criteria for obtaining a PGWP.

pgwp introduced by the immigration refugees and citizenship canada

These changes in PGWP are shaping up the post-pandemic immigration system adopted by Canada that is making education and immigration easier for International applicants. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Distance learning was not considered as a criterion for PGWP eligibility.

The new eligibility rules for PGWP are:

1) Students will be able to study online overseas without any time being deducted from their PGWP up until April 30, 2021. This will only be taken into account if the students complete 50% of their studies in Canada.

2) Students who have graduated from more than one eligible programs will be able to combine the lengths of their programs when applying for PGWP.

This rule is applicable for students who have enrolled in a program starting between May to September 2020 and study online up till April 2021. Students are also required to complete at least 50% of their studies in Canada.

3) Students who have opted for short-term programs with a duration of 8-12 months starting from May to September 2020 will be eligible to apply for PGWP while completing their entire program overseas. 

Students must submit a study permit application before starting a program of study at a DLI in the winter/summer/fall 2020 semester or for the winter 2021 semester to be eligible for the new measures introduced by IRCC.

FAQS about PGWP 

Q. Can I get a job and work permit after completing under graduation in Canada? 

A. Getting a job depends on the course you’ve selected and your economic conditions. You can be eligible for a work permit if you’ve completed any study program with a duration of more than eight months.

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

A. Yes, you can be eligible for a work permit if the duration of your course was more than eight months.

Q. Can I be eligible for PGWP if I’m studying online from abroad due to Covid-19? 

A. According to the new policy by IRCC, students will be able to study online overseas without any time being deducted from their PGWP up until April 30, 2021. This will only be valid if the student completes at least 50% of their course in Canada.

Q. Can I get more duration on PGWP if I’ve completed two programs? 

A. Yes, you may be eligible to get a PGWP that combines the length of each program, but each of the programs you completed must be PGWP-eligible and at least eight months in length. 

Q. What is the maximum duration of PGWP? 

A. 3 years is the maximum duration of PGWP.

Q. Can I apply for PGWP again? 

A. PGWP is only issued once per person, and you cannot apply for PGWP again if you already had one before.

Q. Which are the best sites to refer to regarding PGWP?

A. You can get information about PGWP at visacrunch and CIC.com.

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