Master’s Students Are Eligible for a 3-Year PGWP in Canada

26 February, 2024

Master’s Students Are Eligible for a 3-Year PGWP in Canada

Beginning February 15th, international students enrolled in master's programs lasting less than two years become eligible for a three-year post-graduation work permit (PGWP).
Until now, PGWP duration was tied to the length of the study program. However, acknowledging the potential of master's students in Canada's job market, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has extended eligibility for these students to obtain longer work permits.
For students in programs other than master's, PGWP duration will still align with the program length, up to a maximum of three years.
Students enrolled in programs at PGWP-eligible designated learning institutions (DLIs)—the sole institutions authorized to enroll international students—that are a minimum of two years in duration are likewise entitled to a lengthier, three-year PGWP.
In the forthcoming weeks, IRCC will revise regulations regarding spousal work permits for international students pursuing undergraduate studies. Consequently, only spouses of students at the master’s and doctoral levels will qualify for a spousal work permit. This revision will not affect spousal open work permits for the spouses or common-law partners of Canadian citizens or permanent residents.


What are the PGWP eligibility criteria?


To qualify for a PGWP, international students must meet the following criteria:
  • Completion of studies in an academic, vocational, or professional training program lasting at least eight months at a recognized Designated Learning Institution (DLI).
  • Enrollment in a program that results in a degree, diploma, or certificate.
  • Maintenance of full-time student status throughout each academic session of the completed program or programs of study in Canada, as specified on the PGWP application (with certain exceptions permitted).
  • Provision of a transcript and an official letter from the DLI confirming program completion requirements (both documents must be included in the PGWP application).
  • Graduation from one of the following types of educational institutions:
  • Public post-secondary institutions, such as colleges, trade or technical schools, universities, CEGEPs (in Quebec), or private post-secondary schools (in Quebec) operating under similar regulations as public schools.
  • Private secondary or post-secondary schools (in Quebec) offering qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer, resulting in the issuance of a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP).
  • Canadian private schools authorized by provincial law to confer degrees (e.g., Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate degrees), but only if the student is enrolled in a degree-granting program approved by the province. All of these educational institutions must be DLIs.
Please note: Starting September 2024, students enrolled in programs utilizing a curriculum licensing framework, where a private college is licensed to deliver a public college's curriculum, will no longer be eligible to apply for a PGWP.
If you still have questions about your eligibility for PGWP, please contact our team! We are ready to assist you at any stage of your process.
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