If you intend to extend your stay in Canada beyond the expiration of your Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), several avenues are available, contingent upon your objectives and personal circumstances.
The PGWP is a singular opportunity, devoid of extension possibilities. Typically, its duration aligns with the length of your study program. For instance, if you completed a one-year credential, your PGWP is valid for one year, with a maximum validity period of up to three years.
Functioning as an open work permit, the PGWP grants you the flexibility to work for any employer throughout Canada. However, if your aspiration includes Canadian immigration, securing employment in a "skilled" occupation is advantageous.
The term "skilled" presently pertains to occupations categorized as skill levels 0, 1, and 2 on the National Occupational Classification (NOC). You can ascertain the skill level of your occupation by consulting the government website.
While immigration options exist for individuals employed in various fields, possessing work experience in a skilled occupation enhances your eligibility for Canada's predominant immigration route, Express Entry.
Our aim is not to prescribe a specific path for your Canadian immigration journey, as there's no straightforward route. However, this article seeks to delineate all available options beyond your PGWP, empowering you to make an informed decision aligned with your individual preferences.
Apply for immigration
Applying for immigration will allow you to stay in Canada after your PGWP expires. There are some options available:
Express Entry is often misconstrued as an immigration program, whereas, in reality, it functions as an application management system for three federal immigration programs and certain Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). The three programs managed through Express Entry are:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
To initiate the immigration process via Express Entry, eligibility for one of the aforementioned programs is a prerequisite. Once you become part of the candidate pool, your ranking is determined using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).
The application for immigration can only be submitted upon receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA) from Canada's immigration department, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). To secure an ITA, you must accumulate at least the minimum CRS points required in a specific Express Entry draw. IRCC conducts these draws approximately every two weeks, inviting the highest-scoring candidates to apply for Canadian immigration.
Provincial Nominee Program
The majority of Canadian provinces and territories, excluding Nunavut and Quebec, oversee Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).
PNPs fall into two main categories. Enhanced PNPs actively search the Express Entry pool to invite candidates to apply for a provincial nomination. Securing such a nomination grants Express Entry candidates an automatic boost of 600 points to their overall score. This substantial increase propels them to the forefront of the Express Entry candidate pool, positioning them favorably to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) in a subsequent draw.
For individuals who do not meet the criteria for Express Entry, an alternative pathway to Canadian immigration is through a base PNP. These programs permit direct application for a provincial nomination to the specific province, which then endorses your application for permanent residence with the federal government. Some of these base PNPs are open to individuals whose work experience does not fall within a "skilled" occupation category.
PNPs generally do not mandate prior experience in the province or require a job offer, although possessing these attributes can enhance your application. Selecting a PNP involves both determining your eligibility and deciding on the province in which you genuinely aspire to establish residence.
Quebec's immigration Process
Quebec operates its own distinct immigration system, requiring individuals aspiring to immigrate to the province to obtain a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ). The CSQ supports your immigration application to the federal government. Despite Quebec's autonomy in immigration matters, only the federal government has the authority to grant permanent residency status.
For those fluent in French who have studied and worked in Quebec, the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) presents a viable option, especially for holders of Quebec Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs). Eligibility for this program extends to international students and temporary foreign workers. International students must meet specific criteria related to their education, demonstrate proficiency in the French language, and articulate their intention to settle in Quebec. Temporary foreign workers, on the other hand, require a minimum of two years of full-time work experience in a skilled occupation, current employment at the time of application, and proof of French language proficiency.
Alternatively, if you possess proficiency in French along with skilled work experience, the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) offers another avenue for immigration to the province.
Atlantic Immigration Pilot
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot simplifies the process for employers in Atlantic Canada to recruit foreign talent. Eligibility extends to individuals hired in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, or Nova Scotia. The program comprises three streams: one for skilled workers, another for intermediate skilled workers, encompassing occupations classified under skill level "C," and a third for graduates from the Atlantic region.
If you have a Canadian citizen or permanent resident spouse or common-law partner, spousal sponsorship could be a suitable option for you. If you're applying as in-land applicants, there's a possibility to avail yourself of an open work permit designed for spouses and common-law partners of Canadians undergoing the immigration process.
How long is a Post-Graduation Work Permit valid for?
The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is an essential option for international students who wish to gain valuable work experience in Canada after completing their studies. It allows graduates to work in Canada for a specific duration, depending on the length of their program of study.
The validity of a Post-Graduation Work Permit varies depending on the length of the program completed by the international student. If the program of study is less than 8 months but more than 2 years, the work permit will be issued for a duration equivalent to the length of the program. For example, if you complete a 2-year program, you will be eligible for a 2-year work permit.
However, if the program of study is 8 months or less, the student will not be eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit. It's important to note that programs of less than 8 months are not eligible for this work permit, as it is designed to provide international students with the opportunity to gain meaningful work experience related to their field of study.
It's worth mentioning that the application for a Post-Graduation Work Permit must be submitted within 180 days (6 months) of completing the program. It is crucial to ensure timely submission to avoid any potential issues or delays.
Furthermore, the Post-Graduation Work Permit is an open work permit, which means that graduates are not restricted to a specific employer or job. They have the flexibility to work for any employer in Canada, allowing them to explore different job opportunities and gain diverse work experience.
It is important to note that the Post-Graduation Work Permit is a one-time opportunity, and you can only apply for it once. Therefore, it's crucial to make the most of this permit and utilize the time to gain valuable work experience in your field of study.
During the duration of the Post-Graduation Work Permit, you can work full-time, part-time, or even be self-employed. This flexibility allows you to choose the type of employment that suits your needs and goals. It also gives you the opportunity to contribute to the Canadian workforce and economy.
While working on a Post-Graduation Work Permit, you can also explore different provinces and cities in Canada. This can be a great way to experience the diverse culture and lifestyle that Canada has to offer. It can also help you establish connections and expand your professional network, which can be beneficial for future employment opportunities or even permanent residency.
It is important to plan and prepare for your post-graduation work experience in Canada. Research the job market in your field of study and explore different employment opportunities. Networking, attending job fairs, and connecting with industry professionals can also enhance your chances of finding meaningful work.
In conclusion, the Post-Graduation Work Permit is a valuable opportunity for international students to gain work experience in Canada after completing their studies. It provides flexibility, allows for exploration and networking, and can contribute to future career prospects and permanent residency options. Make sure to take advantage of this permit and use your time wisely to make the most of your work experience in Canada. Plan ahead, research the job market, and network to increase your chances of finding meaningful employment. Remember, the Post-Graduation Work Permit is a one-time opportunity, so make the most of it and leverage it to enhance your career prospects and potential for permanent residency in Canada.
Your PGWP is about to expire, and you want to stay in Canada, we can help you! Count on e-Visa Immigration team to assist you at any time of your process. Discover if you are eligible for Canadian immigration and contact us!