Canada's Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is a vital element of the nation's strategy to attract international students and retain them as immigrants. The PGWP, with a duration of up to three years (dependent on the student's educational program's length), functions as an open work permit. This means that international graduates can work for any Canadian employer without needing a job offer. The PGWP offers a unique opportunity for international graduates to gain valuable professional work experience in Canada, a crucial asset when they later apply for Canadian immigration.

Studying Overseas and PGWP Eligibility

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have introduced special provisions. These allow international students to engage in distance learning at Canadian Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) while remaining eligible for the PGWP, provided they meet all other criteria. DLIs are colleges and universities accredited by the Canadian government to host international students. Students who began their studies or submitted a study permit application before August 31, 2022, can complete up to 100% of their program online without affecting PGWP eligibility. However, starting from September 1, 2023, study time completed from abroad will impact the PGWP's duration, regardless of when studies commenced.

Eligibility Requirements for PGWP

To qualify for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, international students must meet certain criteria:

  • Completion of an academic, vocational, or professional training program lasting at least eight months at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).
  • The study program must lead to a degree, diploma, or certificate.
  • Full-time student status in Canada during each academic session.
  • Receipt of a transcript and an official letter from the DLI confirming program completion.
  • Graduation from a recognized institution, which includes public post-secondary institutions, private schools in Quebec, and Canadian private schools authorized to award degrees under provincial law.

Note: Graduates of vocational and professional training programs in Quebec must meet additional criteria depending on the diploma type.

Duration of PGWP

The PGWP's duration varies based on the length of the Canadian DLI program:

  • Programs under 8 months: Not eligible for PGWP.
  • Programs lasting 8 months to less than 2 years: PGWP valid for the program's length (e.g., a 10-month program yields a 10-month PGWP).
  • Programs of 2 years or more: PGWP valid for 3 years.
  • Completing multiple DLI-eligible programs over 8 months leads to a PGWP matching the program durations.

Application Deadline for PGWP

Applicants must apply for the PGWP within 180 days (six months) of receiving a transcript and an official completion letter from their DLI. If a study permit is set to expire before these documents are obtained, candidates have the option to apply for a visitor record to extend their stay in Canada or leave Canada and apply for the PGWP. During the application, applicants must demonstrate a valid study permit, previous study permit possession, or authorization to study in Canada under specific regulations.

Required Documents for PGWP Application

While program officers may request additional documents, two essential documents for a PGWP application are a completion confirmation letter and an official transcript provided by the DLI.