Post Graduate Work Permit Canada

Post Graduate Work PermitArmin is an international student in Canada. He is a citizen of Turkmenistan. Armin will soon finish his Bachelor of Science in Engineering program at the University of Saskatchewan. Although he dreams about getting his Ph.D., he prefers to become a Canadian as soon as possible. Someone told Armin he might apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) right after school. He may then gain enough work experience to apply for permanent residency in Canada under the Canadian Experience Class. No doubt, Armin is excited to know more about this PGWP.

Canada competes with many other great economies of the world over the young talent. Obviously, a significant source of this talent is international students. As a result, Canada has some measures to encourage these students to remain in Canada and become part of our social fabric. One of these measures is the Post-Graduate Work Permit.

What is a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP)?

A PGWP is an open work permit that allows you to work in Canada for any employer. Of course, the immigration officer may impose some limitations on what you can do and the region you may work. The length of a PGWP depends on your studies’ length, and it is usually between one to three years.

Who May Apply for a PGWP?

You could apply for a PGWP if all of the following conditions apply to you:

  • You completed a full-time post-secondary program in Canada;
  • your program qualifies for a PGWP;
  • you completed your studies in less than 90 days before applying for a PGWP;
  • your school is a designated learning institution;
  • you are at least 18 years old;
  • the length of your program was at least eight months; and
  • your study permit was valid when you applied for the PGWP.

If a program is normally eight months or more, but you take the accelerated version and finish it in less than eight months, you may still be eligible to apply for a PGWP.

Who May Not Apply for a PGWP?

Of course, if you do not meet the previous headline’s requirements, you cannot apply for PGWP. On top of that, you may not apply for a PGWP if any of the following is correct about you.

  • Your studies were not continuous (for example, you took a year off and went back home);
  • you received funding from or were part of any of the following:
    • The Government of Canada Awards Program funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC);
    • the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program funded by GAC;
    • the Canada-China Scholars Exchanges Program;
    • the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada-Chile;
    • the Organization of American States Fellowships Program; or
    • any funding from GAC.
  • most of your program was online or through distance learning; or
  • you had applied for a PGWP in the past, following another study program.

As you can see, PGWP is a one-time opportunity, so use it wisely.

What Kinds of Educational Programs are Eligible for PGWP?

A typical educational program eligible for PGWP is full-time, continuous, more than eight months, and via a designated learning institution. Besides, the school usually needs to be one of the following:

  • publically funded post-secondary institutions such as universities, colleges, trade schools, or technical schools;
  • certain private secondary or post-secondary schools in Quebec; or
  • private schools that may award Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate degrees approved by the province.

Instead of doing guesswork, look up the school from the IRCC website and see if they offer PGWP approved programs. Also, call the school to double-check. If you don’t know how to look up the schools’ names, read my article on designated learning institutions.

Can I Extend my PGWP?

Unfortunately, this is not an option. However, you could apply for another work permit from within Canada if you have a valid job offer supported by an LMIA or if the job offer is exempt from LMIA. Of course, if you apply for immigration under Express Entry, you could qualify for a bridging work permit under certain circumstances.

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Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in Toronto, Canada. He also teaches the official immigration consulting courses at Ashton College in Vancouver, Canada. Al who holds a Masters degree from Yorkville University is a member of ICCRC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented hundreds of applicants from more than 30 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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