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Post-graduate Work Permit (PGWP)

What is Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)?

The Government of Canada grants special work permits to foreign graduate immigrants. Applicants must meet the requirements of the Canadian Designated Learning to qualify. A PGWP is an open permit. This means that foreign graduate immigrants can work for any employer of their choice. Applicants do not necessarily need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to apply. Most Canadian work permits require a recent LMIA for every candidate except PGWPs.

Successful PGWP immigrants immediately gain valuable Canadian work experience once they qualify for the permit. The immigration system perceives eligible graduates as early-bird professionals with some level of expertise. Qualifying for a post-graduate work permit is a crucial step in becoming a Canadian permanent resident. The pathway to becoming a resident of Canada becomes feasible with a PGWP.

Who is Eligible for a PGWP

The primary eligibility requirement for a post-graduate work permit is age. All applicants must be foreign immigrants and at least18 years old to qualify for a PGWP. They must have also completed a full-time study program in Canada for 8-10 months. Only study programs from Designated Learning Institute (DLI) would be considered during application. Applications for the PGWP program must be sent within 180 days after the full-time program.

Applicants sending their applications from within the country must have valid immigration before applying. All expired study permits must be renewed before applying for the PGWP. Students with invalid status must apply as visitors pending the renewal of their immigration status. This rule doesn’t apply to you if you’ve applied for the PGWP before the expiration of your immigration status. You can work full-time as a foreign immigrant while your application is processing.

Eligible Levels of Study

Applicants who are graduates of the following levels of study qualify for their PGWPs:

Public Post-secondary School

Recent graduates from colleges, technical or trade schools, or CEGEP in QUEBEC

Private Post-secondary School

Graduates of private schools that follow the mode of operations of public schools. Only applicable to some schools in QUEBEC

Private Secondary or Post-secondary Schools (QUEBEC)

Foreign graduates from levels of study or programs of at least 900 hours. These programs must be eligible to apply for a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP)

Some Canadian Private Schools

Only graduates from private schools in Canada that legally award certification under provincial law can apply. These applicants must have also registered for post programs as directed by the province

How Long Does it Take to get a PGWP?

Applications for PGWPs can take from 90-180 days to know your status. Candidates may have to prepare for further extension if their documents are delayed. Applicants can still work in Canada as they process their PGWPs. You can only work if your application processing started before the expiration date of your current permit. Again, all applications must be sent within 180 days after the completion of your study or program.

Applicants outside Canada can send in their applications after completing their studies. They must, however, have completed 50% of the study here in Canada. All previously-completed PGWP applications must come from within Canada for proper processing. Applicants sending their PGWP applications from overseas must be ready to provide additional documentation. Depending on your location, the visa officer may request additional documents for processing.

Can I Apply for a Work Permit after my PGWP?

Applicants that have their post-graduate work permits can always apply for other work permit programs. Provided you live and work in Canada, you can apply for as many work permit programs as you please. Foreign PGWP holders can also send in their applications for an LMIA or LMIA exempt. Of course, applicants must meet the criteria for these permits to qualify for processing. Although, consider applying for permanent residency since you already have Canadian work experience.

Can I Work After Graduation before I apply for my PGWP?

Foreign graduates that send in their PGWP applications before the expiration of their valid permit can work in Canada. You necessarily do not have to apply for another student permit while your PGWP application is processing. Applicants can work legally in Canada as they await their PGWP approval. However, if the choice of reapplying or renewing your student permit status seems possible, go for it. Only students with expired student permits for less than 90 days can reapply.

How many times can I apply for a PGWP?

Foreign graduates can only send in their PGWP applications once. The program has a limited application time frame of 180 days. Applicants are not allowed to send in multiple applications for a certain level of study more than once. People who plan to further their education after the first degree must plan their PGWP applications strategically. Applicants that apply outside the time frame get PGWPs with longer validity. This could extend for more than three years in some cases.

How a PGWP can help you Immigrate to Canada

The PGWP program was launched to help foreign students with their permanent residency status. Applicants that go through the Canadian education system for work experience purposes can apply for Express Entry. Canadian Express Entry immigration system allows a professional to fast-track the application for his/her permanent residency.

A Canadian degree and work experience come as an advantage for an Express Entry applicant. A PGWP gives you additional points on the Express Entry immigration system. Applicants with the highest points on their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) have better chances of qualifying. With Canadian work experience, you could easily fast-track your permanent residency status.

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