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A Complete Guide to Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada

Looking to work in Canada after completing your studies? Here are a few things you should know when applying for a PGWP.

If you are an international student studying in Canada, obtaining a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) can be a significant milestone in your career journey. The PGWP is a valuable opportunity that allows you to gain work experience in Canada after completing your studies, which can enhance your skills, increase your employability, and potentially serve as a pathway to permanent residence in Canada.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the eligibility requirements, work permit visa fees, work visa application process, tips for a successful application, benefits of PGWP, its connection to the Canadian job market, and frequently asked questions to help you navigate through the process with confidence.

What is a Post Graduate Work Permit?

A Post Graduate Work Permit Canada can be described as a work permit that any international student who graduates from a program of study in Canada can apply for. With this permit, the student will be able to work for any company or organisation for as many hours as they want to in Canada.

As a rule, the validity of a PGWP Canada work permit is anywhere between eight months to three years. How the duration is determined is covered later in this article.

By securing a PGWP, you as an international student stand to benefit in the following ways:

i) Opportunity to gain industry experience in Canada

PGWP allows you to work in Canada and gain valuable industry exposure, which can enhance your skills, knowledge, and employability. You can explore job opportunities in the Canadian job market, gain exposure to Canadian work culture, and build professional networks.

ii) Flexibility in choosing employment

PGWP allows you to work for any employer in Canada, which gives you the flexibility to choose the type of job, industry, and location that aligns with your career goals and interests. You are not tied to a specific employer, which provides you with greater job mobility and options.

iii) Extension of stay in Canada

PGWP can also provide you with an extension of your stay in Canada, allowing you to continue living and working in Canada after completing your studies and gaining valuable work experience. This can give you more time to explore potential pathways for permanent residency in Canada, such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is a federal immigration program that allows international students with Canadian work experience to apply for permanent residency. By gaining Canadian work experience through PGWP, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency under CEC, which can provide you with long-term immigration status in Canada.

iv) Enhancement of employability

Canadian work experience gained through PGWP can significantly enhance your employability, both in Canada and internationally. Employers often value Canadian work experience, as it demonstrates your adaptability to the Canadian work environment, language proficiency, and understanding of Canadian workplace culture, which can make you a more competitive candidate in the job market.

v) Opportunity to earn income

PGWP allows you to earn income through employment, which can help you recover the expenses incurred during your studies in Canada.

Eligibility Requirements for PGWP

To be eligible for a PGWP, you must meet certain criteria set by the Canadian government. These include:

i) Completion of a full-time program from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada

You must have successfully completed a full-time program of study at a DLI in Canada. DLIs are institutions that are approved by the government of Canada to host international students.
The following is a link to verify whether your educational institution falls under the category of Designated Learning Institutions:

Link to Check Province-Wise Designated Learning Institutions

DLIs include institutions such as:

  • Public post-secondary college (which includes colleges, trade or technical schools or universities, or the CEGEP in Quebec.
  • Private post-secondary school that follows the guidelines of that of public schools.
  • Private secondary or post-secondary Quebec school that will offer its students a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP).
  • Private school or university in Canada that is allowed to offer its students degrees.

The program of study that you have completed must have been full-time and lasted for at least 8 months. Part-time programs or programs that were completed in less than 8 months are not eligible for PGWP.
You must have obtained a degree, diploma, or certificate from a DLI as part of your program of study. This degree, diploma, or certificate must be issued by the DLI and should be for a program that is at least 8 months in duration.

ii) Maintaining valid status as a student in Canada

Throughout your studies in Canada, you must have maintained a valid student status and complied with the terms and conditions of your study permit. This includes attending classes regularly, making progress towards completing your program of study, and renewing your study permit when necessary.

iii) Meeting Health and Security Requirements

You must undergo and pass the necessary medical examinations and security checks as required by the Canadian government to ensure that you do not pose any health or security risks to Canada.

There are certain factors that could affect your eligibility for the PGWP. Some of the more prominent ones are:
– Withdrawal from Studies
– Changing your Program of Study
– Transferring from one institution to other

How these factors affect a student’s eligibility for the PGWP depends on a case-specific basis. If you are someone who is keen on securing a PGWP after completing your study program, you would want to assess how these factors could affect your chances.

Duration of Validity of the Canadian Post-Graduation Work Permit

The following rules determine how long a duration the Post Graduate Work Permit could be issued to you for:

  • Program Duration was less than 8 months

You will not be eligible for PGWP

  • Program Duration was at least 8 months but less than 2 years

You will get a PGWP equivalent to the program duration. So, if your program lasted for 9 months, you will get a 9-month PGWP. If your program lasted for 16 months, you will get a 16-month PGWP.

  • Program Duration was 2 years or more

You will get a PGWP for 3 years

If you have completed more than 1 program, then you will be able to secure a PGWP which will combine the length of each program. That is, if you complete one program of 8 months duration and another of 12 months duration, you will be able to secure a PGWP of 20 months. However, each program that you complete should be:
– Eligible for PGWP
– At least 8 months in duration

Remember, you would not be able to secure a fresh PGWP if you already have one after completing an earlier study program.

When to apply for PGWP?

You must apply for PGWP within 180 days (6 months) of completing your program of study. It is crucial to ensure that you submit your application before this deadline, as applications submitted after 180 days may not be accepted. Submitting your application as early as possible can also help you avoid last-minute delays or technical issues.

Documents Required for Canadian Post Graduate Work Permit

Here are the key documents that you as an international student would typically need to submit when applying for a Canadian PGWP in order to demonstrate your eligibility and support your PGPW application:

i) Study Permit
The study permit is the document that allows international students to study in Canada and must be valid throughout the entire duration of their study program. You must have a study permit that is valid at the time of submitting their PGWP application.

ii) Passport
You must have a valid passport which you would need to submit with your PGWP application. The passport must be valid throughout the entire duration of the PGWP and should have enough blank pages for visa and immigration stamps.

iii) Proof of Program Completion
Before you begin your PGWP application, you need one of the following documents as proof of your study program completion:
– A Degree or Diploma Certificate
– Letter of Completion from your DLI on the official letterhead of the institution and containing your full name, program of study, and date of program completion
– Official Transcript or Copy of Transcript from your DLI’s website

iv) Proof of Language Proficiency
You may need to provide proof of their language proficiency in English or French as part of your PGWP application. This can be demonstrated through official language test results, such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test d’Évaluation de Français (TEF) scores, depending on the language of instruction of your study program.

v) Photos
International students are usually required to provide recent passport-sized photos as per the specifications outlined by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for their PGWP application. The photos must be taken within a specific timeframe and meet the size and format requirements.

vi) Additional Supporting Documents
Depending on individual circumstances, you may need to provide additional supporting documents with your PGWP application. These may include proof of financial resources, health insurance coverage, police clearance certificates, and other relevant documents as requested by the IRCC.
If you would be working in a field that requires a medical exam, it is recommended that you can do an upfront medical exam at a Panel Physician.

Application Process for Canadian Post Graduate Work Permit

If you are an international student who meets the above eligibility criteria and wishes to apply for the PGWP in Canada, the following are steps that you need to follow:

1. Gather Required Documents

Gather all the documents together as listed above so that you can have a smooth application process without any hassles or interruptions.

Make sure to review all your documents, including your letter of completion, passport, study permit, and other identification documents, to ensure that they are accurate and up-to-date. Any errors or inconsistencies may result in delays or rejections.
Also, we would recommend that you keep copies of all the documents you submit with your application, as well as any correspondence with the IRCC. These copies can serve as a reference in case any issues arise during the processing of your application.

2. Submit your PGWP Application

This can be done either online or via mail. If you choose to do this by mail, you would need to send it to the designated processing center.

However, most applicants would need to follow the online route. The link below would take them to the page from where they can start their online PGWP application:

Begin your Online PGWP Application

Fill out your application form accurately and provide all the required information. Be truthful in your answers and ensure that your application is complete. Incomplete or inaccurate applications may be rejected.

3. Pay the PGWP application fees

There are Canada work permit visa fees, which must be paid at the time of application.

Work Permit Visa Fees (including extension) per person CAD 155
 Open Work Permit Holder Fee CAD 100
 Total Canada Work Permit Visa Fee CAD 255

While the above table gives the fee that most international students will have to pay for the PGWP application, some students may have to pay some added fees depending on the individual case.

It is essential to include the payment receipt as part of your PGWP application package.

After submitting your application, you will need to wait for it to be processed by the IRCC. The PWGP Canada processing time may vary, in some cases, the IRCC may request additional information or ask you to attend an interview to verify your eligibility for PGWP. It is crucial to promptly provide any additional information or attend any requested interviews to avoid delays in the processing of your application.
Once your application has been processed, you will receive a decision from the IRCC. If your application is approved, you will receive a PGWP, which will specify the duration of the permit. It is crucial to review the permit carefully to ensure that the information is accurate.

Obtaining a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) can be a valuable opportunity for international students studying in Canada to gain Canadian work experience, explore job opportunities, and potentially pursue permanent residency. However, the process of applying for PGWP can be complex, and it is crucial to ensure that your application is accurate, complete, and submitted on time. By following the instructions carefully, providing all the required information, and responding promptly to any additional requests, you can increase your chances of a successful PGWP application. Once you obtain a PGWP, you can enjoy the benefits of Canadian work experience, increased employability, and potential pathways to permanent residency in Canada.

FAQs

Yes, you can work part-time while waiting for your PGWP to be processed, as long as you still have a valid student work permit Canada and are enrolled in a full-time program.

Yes, you can leave Canada while your PGWP application is being processed, but you should make sure to have all necessary documents and ensure that you can re-enter Canada if needed

Yes, you can extend your PGWP in Canada if you meet the eligibility criteria, such as having completed an eligible program and having a valid passport. You should apply to extend your PGWP at least 30 days before it expires.
You can extend your PGWP in Canada by submitting an application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) online or by mail. Here are the general steps to follow:

i. Make sure you are eligible: You must have a valid study permit and have completed an eligible program of study at a designated learning institution in Canada. Your PGWP must not have expired or be about to expire within the next four months.

ii. Gather the required documents: You will need to provide documents such as your passport, study permit, and a letter of completion from your educational institution.

iii. Complete the application form: Fill out the application form provided by IRCC and pay the processing fee.

iv. Submit your application: Submit your application online through IRCC's website or by mail to the appropriate address provided in the application package.

v. Wait for a decision: IRCC will process your application and may request additional information or documents if necessary. Once your application is approved, you will receive a new work permit.

If you do not apply for a PGWP before your study permit expires, you will no longer be eligible for the program and will not be able to work in Canada after your studies.

Yes, you may be eligible for a PGWP if you completed your studies outside of Canada, as long as you meet certain criteria such as having attended an eligible institution and having completed a program that is equivalent to a Canadian post-secondary degree.

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