The Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is an open work permit, meaning it allows the student to work for any employer of their choice in Canada and to work for any Canadian employer without needing a job offer. It allows international student graduates to work anywhere in Canada for up to three years.
A major benefit of the PGWP is that it provides international graduates with professional work experience in Canada, which is helpful when PGWP holders go on to apply for Canadian immigration. In general, a PGWP holder needs to gain one year of professional work experience in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) code of 0, A or B to then be eligible to apply for a Canadian permanent residence program.
To be eligible for a PGWP, international students must have:
The student must also have graduated from:
Canadian private school that can award degrees under provincial law (for example, Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree) but only if the student was enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province.
A PGWP will be valid for between eight months and three years, depending on the length of the students’ study program. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides the following guidelines on its website:
A student must apply for the PGWP within 180 days, or six months, from the time they receive a transcript and official letter from the DLI confirming they have met all the requirements to complete the study program.
IRCC set in place a new policy during the coronavirus pandemic that allows students to complete their Canadian study program while living abroad and still be eligible for a PGWP when they move to Canada. In order to be eligible for this policy, the student must:
Under Express Entry, the Canadian government uses the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to evaluate each candidate based on their human capital. Canada looks at age, education, language skills, work experience, among other criteria. Usually every two weeks, the Canadian government holds Express Entry draws providing permanent residence invitations to those with the highest CRS scores. Extra points are given to candidates with Canadian education and work experience under Express Entry.
Many international students obtain permanent residence status through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). With a PGWP, students must go on to obtain at least 1,560 hours of Canadian work experience in a NOC 0, A or B job in order to be apply for permanent residency through CEC. Many Provincial Nominee Programs also cater to international graduates.
If you have studied in Quebec and would like to settle in the province permanently, a student may also be eligible for immigration under the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ). The PEQ provides a fast-track way for international students and individuals with work experience in Quebec to get a Quebec selection certificate, which is a mandatory step towards permanent residency that is granted by the federal government.
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