What is a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)?
Post-graduation work permits (PGWPs) are open work permits given to international students who graduate from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI). PGWPs allow the holder to work for any employer, for as many hours they wish, anywhere in Canada.
PGWPs are valid for between eight months to three years and are a great way to obtain valuable Canadian work experience. Once an applicant has work experience in Canada, it opens a lot of opportunities to obtain Canadian permanent residence.
The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) allows students who have graduated from eligible Canadian designated learning institutions (DLIs) to obtain an open work permit to gain valuable Canadian work experience. Skilled Canadian work experience in TEER CATEGORIES 0, 1, 2 or 3 that is gained through the PGWPP helps graduates qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian experience class within Express Entry.
Who can apply for a PGWP?
In order to be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), a foreign national must be at least 18 years old and have studied full-time in Canada in a program of at least 8 months. The study program must have been completed at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in one of the following types of programs listed below. As well, in order to apply for the work permit, a foreign national must apply within 180 days of the completion of their study program.
ELIGIBLE LEVELS OF STUDY
The following levels of study and programs are eligible for PGWPs:
- public post-secondary school, such as a college, trade/technical school or university, or CEGEP in Quebec; or
- private post-secondary school that operates under the same rules as public schools (only applies to certain institutions in Quebec); or
- 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 spécialisation professionnelle (ASP); or
- Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law only for those enrolled in study programs leading to a degree as authorized by the province.
Can I apply for a PGWP from outside Canada/ inside Canada?
If an applicant is applying from within Canada, they must have valid status at the time of application. If their study permit has expired or will expire they may apply for status as a visitor before applying for the PGWP. However, applicants who apply for a PGWP prior to the expiration of their study permit are eligible to begin working full time immediately, while their application is processing. Applicants may apply for a PGWP from overseas.
Can I work while waiting for decision on PGWP?
Yes, students who have completed their program of study are allowed to work (under paragraph 186(w) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations [IRPR]) while they are waiting for a decision on their post-graduation work permit application, provided they meet all of the following criteria:
- they are or were holders of a valid study permit at the time of the post-graduation work permit application
- they were a full-time student enrolled at a DLI in a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program
- they were authorized to work off-campus without a work permit
- they did not exceed the allowable hours of work
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