Post Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWP) allows graduates of Canadian colleges and universities to obtain an Open Work Permit and, in turn, live and work in Canada from eight months to three years. International Graduates do not need a job offer to apply for PGWP, and can work anywhere in Canada, for any employer, in any occupation!
Benefits of a Post Graduate Work Permit
Canada is a perfect place to study and live; that’s why most international students dream of staying in Canada after completing their study program. It is no secret that the government of Canada values highly qualified, educated professionals; therefore, it gives international students who graduated from one of the Canadian colleges or universities the opportunity to gain Canadian work experience. In turn, the combination of Canadian higher education and work experience in Canada increases the chance of obtaining permanent resident status in Canada through Express Entry or Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).
A considerable benefit of the Post Graduated Work Permit program is that your spouses, common-law partners and children can be with you in Canada for the duration of your work permit! The Government of Canada gives spouses and common-law partners the right to apply for an open work permit, and children can be included in their application. Even if you still have not decided whether you want to stay in Canada after graduation, we advise applying for PGWP, as this is possible only within 180 days after graduation.
Who is eligible for PGWP?
Only graduates of Canadian colleges and universities can receive the PGWP. A work visa for graduates is an open work permit that does not require a job offer from a Canadian employer backed by a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
Duration of work visa for graduates
The duration of PGWP depends on the time of the program and the type of study. Thus, the duration of PGWP for students who studied for more than eight months, but less than two years, will be equal to the duration of their study. Students whose study program has lasted two years or more can expect to receive a work permit for a maximum of three years, provided that all requirements are met. In addition, immigration officers can grant PGWPs for three years to graduates of Master`s Degree programs.
International students must complete in-class studies to qualify for the PGWP. Distance learning programs are not eligible for PGWP. It is also essential to ensure that your academic program is eligible for the Post-Graduate Work Permit Program, as not all programs qualify for PGWP, especially from private learning institutions.
It is worth clarifying that you cannot obtain multiple PGWPs, as this work permit is issued only once. In cases where international students plan to complete another study program, we advise you to apply for a PGWP at the end of the second program.
Graduates can only apply after the formal completion of their studies. Graduation date is when a formal graduation letter is received from your college or university or an official transcript with grades stating that the student has completed all program requirements. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) gives graduates 180 days after formal graduation to apply for PGWP. At the same time, graduates must maintain legal status in Canada at the time of application. This means that foreign graduates must hold either a valid study permit or visitor visa.
Open Work Permit for spouses of graduates
Spouses of international students can obtain an open work permit for the entire student’s period of study. However, this does not mean that they will automatically receive a new open work permit along with the PGWP of the graduate. According to Canadian immigration law, spouses of foreign graduates are only eligible for a new open work permit if the graduate is employed in occupation from the NOC 0, A or B. Without employment, or in the case of working in an unskilled job from the lists of occupations NOC C or D, the spouses of graduates will be denied a work permit.
Working in Canada between graduation and obtaining a work permit
Temporary residents of Canada must always comply with the conditions of their stay in Canada to not violate immigration laws and not have problems in the future. Thus many students may not intentionally commit the offence by working without permission. During their studies, students have the right to work 20 hours a week. However, the right to such work is granted by a study permit. As soon as the student has finished his studies, he loses the right to work. Therefore, you cannot work in the period between the official graduation date and the date of applying for PGWP! Graduates who violate this rule (even without an intention) risk getting a removal order instead of a work permit.
It is essential to understand that not all study programs in Canada allow graduates to be eligible for PGWP. Our team of immigration professionals will guide you throughout the entire process: from choosing a college or university, a study program, obtaining a study permit, to applying for a Post-Graduate Work Permit and obtaining permanent resident status in Canada!
Book a consultation about Post-Graduate Work Permit with Oleg Schindler, Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant and Educational Advisor!