Deadline to apply for PGWP moves for students of college programs with public-private curriculum licensing agreement

Edana Robitaille
Published: March 25, 2024

On January 22, 2024, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced several major changes to Canada’s international student program.

One of them was graduates of college programs with public-private curriculum licensing agreements would no longer be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) as of September 1, 2024.

As of March 22, IRCC has amended this date to May 15, 2024. This means international students in one of these programs who graduate after this date are no longer eligible for a PGWP.

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The department’s decision is in response to concerns about the quality of education that international students receive at these institutions. A report from the Auditor General of Ontario noted that there is a lack of oversight into “program quality and student services at these institutions.”

IRCC anticipates that without the ability to apply for a PGWP, there will be a reduction in the number of international students enrolling in these institutions.

The department also notes that those impacted by the change may still be eligible for a different type of work permit and says, “IRCC will continue to work with provinces and territories to proactively identify programs that have been affected by the clarification and will update this list as we receive additional information from them.”

This measure is one of many IRCC is using to combat “unsustainable growth in the International Student Program in recent years.”

Other changes to PGWP eligibility criteria

Several changes to PGWP criteria were announced on January 22 this year. Notably, graduates of master’s programs that are shorter than eight months are now eligible for a three-year PGWP.

The time a PGWP is valid is typically aligned with the applicant’s academic program.

The department explains, “Graduates of programs that are at least two years in length at PGWP-eligible designated learning institutions are eligible for a 3-year PGWP, as are graduates of master’s degree programs less than 2 years in length.”

What is a PGWP?

A PGWP is an open work permit for international student graduates of a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (the only post-secondary schools in Canada that are permitted to accept international students). It gives holders the opportunity to work for almost any employer in Canada.

International graduates who obtain a PGWP have the benefit of gaining professional work experience in Canada, which can be advantageous for those who wish to become permanent residents.

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