Living in Canada after graduating with PGWP

Obtaining a post-graduation work permit is one of the routes that international students looking to live in Canada can start building a life here.

International students bring a vibrant, new and fresh perspective to the academic landscape in Canada when they come from their home countries to study at a Canadian Designated Educational Institution (DLI).

Canada takes great pride in being a favorite destination for international students wishing to further their life and education.

However, beyond their institutional education, another point of pride for Canada is that most international students have shown a desire to live here after graduation. In fact, a 2022 Canadian Bureau of International Education (CBIE) survey showed that “59.4% of respondents” said they wanted to become a permanent resident of Canada after graduation.

One step toward this goal for international students is through Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program. The program provides a maximum three-year open work permit that enables eligible DLI graduates to work for a Canadian employer of their choice without having an existing job offer at the time of application. It is important to note that while this program allows permits of up to three years, the actual length of the permit will depend on the length of the educational program from which the applicant has graduated.

PGWP eligibility criteria

PGWP eligibility is determined by the fact that the applicant has:

  • Complete study in an academic, vocational, or professional training program (minimum eight months in length) at an eligible DLI that leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate
  • Received a transcript and an official letter confirming that they have met the requirements to complete their program
  • Achieved full-time student status in Canada during each academic session of the program or programs of study and included as part of their postgraduate work permit application (note below).
  • Graduated from a public post-secondary institution, such as a college, a trade or technical school, a university, CEGEP (in Quebec), a private post-secondary school (in Quebec) that operate under the same rules as public schools in Quebec it happens. , a private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or more and resulting in a Diploma d’Etudes Professionnel (DEP) or a Certification de Specialization Professionale (ASP); or a Canadian private school that may award degrees under provincial law (but only if the student was enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree authorized by the province)

Quebec Note: Graduates of vocational and vocational training programs in Quebec must meet additional PGWP criteria as outlined by the IRCC, depending on the type of diploma issued.

“Full-time student status” requirement note: exemptions may apply to those who have started or will begin a program between spring 2020 and summer 2022, graduates whose program was already in progress in March 2020, or international students Those who took their leave studying in their last academic session

Distance Learning and PGWP Eligibility

Students studying in DLI through distance learning may still be eligible for PGWP due to the coronavirus pandemic. Provided that all other criteria are met, there are a number of date-specific exceptions to the specific eligibility requirements set forth by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). They are as follows:

  • August 31, 2022: International students who study abroad online or submit a study permit application before this date can complete all of their studies online and remain PGWP-eligible
  • September 1, 2023: From this date, full study abroad time “will be deducted from the length of the international student’s PGWP, regardless of where the international student commenced his studies”

PGWP Application Process

All PGWP candidates have six months (180 days) to submit their application, from the day they receive their official transcript and program completion letter.

Upon receiving the above documents, which should be included in the application itself, the process becomes relatively simple.

Most of the applicant’s basic responsibilities are associated with the collection of the following documents identified on the Government of Canada website:

  • a degree or diploma
  • an official letter from your school
  • An official transcript, or a copy of your transcript from your school’s website

Note: IRCC may request additional documents upon receipt of the application

Once this step is completed, applicants can proceed to apply for their PGWP either online or on paper, if required. Application steps will vary depending on whether the PGWP candidate is applying from within or outside Canada.

It is important to note that applicants must prove that they either currently have a valid study permit, have had a study permit in the past or have been authorized to study in Canada without one. If an applicant’s current study permit is set to expire, they can either apply for a visitor record to stay in Canada longer or leave Canada and apply for a PGWP from abroad. can.

Important information regarding PGWP

  • The PGWP program requires international graduates to submit two key documents with their application: a letter and an official transcript confirming the completion of a program of study at DLI.
  • The length of validity of a PWGP is determined by the length of the applicant’s educational program. As per IRCC guidelines:

If the completed program ran:

  • Less than eight months: Applicant is not eligible for PGWP
  • More than eight months but less than two years: The validity of the applicant’s PGWP will match the length of the program (16 months program is equivalent to 16 months PGWP)
  • More than two years: The validity of the applicant’s PGWP will be three years

Additionally, if an applicant has completed more than one (minimum eight months) program, they may be able to combine the earned PGWP together.

How a PGWP can move faster towards permanent residency

PGWP holders ultimately put themselves in an advantageous position when applying for permanent residency (PR) in Canada. This is because PGWPs provide professional work experience to successful applicants. Generally, “a PGWP holder needs to have gained one year of professional work experience in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) code of 0, A, or B to become eligible to apply for a PR program in Canada.

Therefore, it is helpful to have a PGWP when evaluating a PR application because many Canadian immigration programs look favorably on PR applicants who have previously studied and/or worked in this country.

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